I’m not sure why it took me so long to discuss Mumford & Sons. I first heard about them in early 2009 via the Outroversion blog. I’d heard a couple of songs and liked them, but, for some reason, I never put forth the effort to listen to their full arsenal until about a year later. And, by that time, I felt like my window for “breaking” them had closed.
But, as it turns out, while they’ve been receiving a lot of critical praise following the United States release of their debut album, Sigh No More, there is still a lot of people who’ve never heard of the London indie-folk quartet.
The album dropped in the United Kingdom in October 2009 and landed in the U.S. in February of this year, so some might deem it out of the running for “album of the year” praise. But you know what? Those people are stupid.
There is nary a bad song on this 12-track disc — all are good, some are really good and a few are great — which is why I would deem it the best album of 2010.
According to Wikipedia, the band formed in late 2007, rising out of London’s folk scene with other artists such as Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn and Noah and the Whale — all solid acts, I might add.
Mumford & Sons, which is led vocally by Marcus Mumford, enlists a slew of folksy instruments, including mandolin, banjo, dobro, string bass and accordion. And the members of the band are very versatile, often switching instruments throughout live shows.
While the band can do the slow, swaying folk thing with the best of them, it’s the spurts of rollicking, rocking fire that make their songs so great. Every song in their repertoire is a sine curve of awesomeness … (that one goes out to all of you math nerds).
In addition to the two gems embedded above, other standout songs include “Awake My Soul”, “Roll Away Your Stone”, “After the Storm” and the title track.
Mumford & Sons make a bevy of literary references in their work. The album title and corresponding song include allusions to Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, and the songs “Timeshel” and “Dust Bowl Dance” draw heavily from the John Steinbeck novels East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath.
After tearing up England in 2009, the band has conquered the world this past year, from topping the charts in Australia to selling out a horde of shows in the United States in the fall.
Earlier this month, the boys picked up a pair of Grammy nominations for Best New Artist (aka The Kiss of Death) and Best Rock Song for “Little Lion Man”.
I unfortunately missed them when they came through Chicago a few months ago, so I’m eagerly awaiting their return.