Album Review

Jason Turner

If Mumford and Sons can keep putting records like "Sigh No More" they won't need to rely on video games to carry on their legacy.

In a recent interview, keyboardist Ben Lovett of the band Mumford & Sons said the group aspires to write music that matters. It’s early, but if the band’s debut album, Sigh No More, is any indication it appears the four lads from London are well on their way.

One of the prerequisites to writing music that matters is being a band that matters. Mumford & Sons are one of the most buzzed-about bands of this young year and there are many reasons why. Here are four of them: great facial hair—they’ve all got it; a great look—slacks and tweeds; great instrumentation—banjo, upright bass, piano, acoustic guitar and a kick drum; and fantastic songs.

Technically speaking Mumford & Sons are a folk band. Albeit an English folk band, but the bottom line is that folk music from either side of the Atlantic has never sounded so sexy or epic.

The secret to sounding epic when you’ve got only four members and no drums, electric guitar or London Symphony Orchestra to speak of is a wall of soaring, seamlessly blended vocal harmonies; something Mumford & Sons has in spades. Of course, well-timed, dramatic dynamic shifts like the ones that appear throughout the album don’t hurt either.

Frontman, guitarist and lead singer Marcus Mumford, who wastes no extremity (he also plays the kick drum with his spare foot) does a commendable job leading the band, snarling about inequity, quipping about love and referencing his heart more times than a cardiologist.

All four players in the band are beyond proficient, but I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the outstanding work of banjo player Winston Marshall, whose performances on this record will be the obvious choice whenever industrious software developers introduce “Banjo Hero.”

If Mumford & Sons can keep putting out records like “Sigh No More” they won’t need to rely on video games to carry on their legacy. Short of a drug overdose, nervous breakdown or Yoko, they have the ingredients to continue making music that matters for a long, long time.