Reviews: “Sigh No More”- Mumford & Sons
In February, Mumford & Sons’ debut album “Sigh No More” was released in the United States. Since then, it has taken its place among this year’s most underappreciated albums, a development that is nothing if not downright tragic. One listen to the foursome’s fierce strings and longing vocals will have you wondering how they’ve managed to stay hidden for so long.
Formed in 2007, Mumford & Sons is a British folk-rock band with a marked bluegrass influence. The group’s nominal and de facto frontman is Marcus Mumford, but the band swaps instruments freely, and all four members contribute vocals on almost every song. Their folksy flavor calls to mind Noah and the Whale, their harmonies The Fleet Foxes, and their stomping Americana The Avett Brothers, and yet their sound is decidedly unique.
“Sigh No More” is filled to the brim with drama. Each track is an epic: a journey full of fallouts and crescendos and lyrics that would sound utterly ridiculous if they weren’t sung with such sincerity and surrounded by such power. Every song ends with a flourish befitting an encore or an anthem, only to be followed by yet another, equally emotive number. The result is an assortment of songs that works not so much as a cohesive album, but as a collection of singles (in the UK and Australia the album has yielded five singles thus far).
For some, this formulaic replication may seem contrived and tedious, but for me there is nothing more authentic in music than some earnest repetition. Many songs sounding too similar to one another does not change the fact that, individually, they can each be celebrated for their visceral, gutty appeal.
Here, too much of a good thing is not necessarily a bad thing.
Of course, the real test for this up-and-coming quartet is yet to be had. Mumford & Sons has found one thing they know they can do extremely well: give you a foot-stomping, throat-wrenching good time…again and again. The question now is whether that’s enough—whether they can continue down this tightly paved road, or perhaps branch off onto potentially more rewarding avenues. Only time (and a second album) can tell, but here’s hoping that, for this young band, there are many more good things to come.