Album Review

Mumford & Sons - Wilder Mind

Released May 4, 2015
Steve Allanson
​Wilder Mind is the highly anticipated third album from Mumford & Sons. The new album marks the first from the rising stars since 2012. Since their inception in 2007, Marcus Mumford and his “sons” rejuvenated the folk genre, selling out arenas and festivals after the overnight success of their second album Sigh No More. On Wilder Mind, the band completely abandons the folk sound fans have grown to love and become just another rock band and offer no uniqueness to the over-crowded genre.
 
The album kicks off with, “Tomkins Square Park” and you can immediately see the band completely changed their direction. The acoustic guitar, banjos, and pianos are replaced with a reverberated, clean-toned electric guitar and a synthesizer. On previous albums, they offered minimal percussion, with just tambourines, and kick drums. Now they bring a full drum set along with them, driving home a generic and unoriginal rock sound.
 
The twelve-track album (sixteen if you count the live tracks) maintains a very slow pace. Three or four songs on Wilder Mind have an upbeat tempo throughout; however, songs like the single “Believe,” or “Hot Gates” are very slow and don’t offer anything new or memorable to the genre.

The lyrics are oftentimes awkward and unmemorable. Prior to Wilder Mind, Marcus Mumford had always been great about writing indelible lyrics that get stuck in your head, but not this time around. I hadn’t found myself singing along at any point in the album. Along with the dreary lyrics, the vocal patterns often change in order to fit certain lines into the lyrics and its uncomfortable sounding.
 
All twelve songs on Wilder Mind sound like an independent movie soundtrack. I first popped the CD in my car around midnight (I’m a night-owl who still uses CDs) and I went for a drive. While I drove through the night aimlessly, watching the street lights zip by above me, I was really digging what I was hearing. Every track on the album during this night drive made me feel like I was Ryan Gosling in one of those scenes from a movie where the character goes on a drive to clear his head. Then just as the character has an epiphany, the music's tempo picks up and he does a 180-degree spin and goes to find the girl he just ruined his chances with. I was all ready to rave about this album, then the next day the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, it was 80 degrees out, and suddenly this moody album was not the right soundtrack for that moment.
 
Wilder Mind drastically changes the Mumford & Songs sound that I’ve grown to love. With the introduction of a full drum set and the electric guitars, the Londoners just became another face in a crowded genre. While the album won’t have you tapping your foot to the beat or singing along, it does make a good soundtrack to set the mood for your late-night drive. But, be careful because it might make you nod off, too.

​60/100