Mumford and Sons have done well over the years to forge a solid and comfortable throne for themselves. As the undisputed kings of modern day folk, they have brought the humble genre to new heights. With their previous musical offering, Sigh No More, reaching Quadruple Platinum success and their new album, Babel, looking very likely to surpass this, it’s fair to say that the Londoners have brought folk music to the masses. But have they brought the masses to folk?
Babel has already seen staggering success and propelled the band to the top of the album charts with the UK’s fastest selling album of the year so far. The reasons for this however may not be entirely or even remotely down to the music. It seems more likely that this surge in sales was triggered by the guilt of missing out on the debut album and a determination not to overlook the next. Musically, Babel offers up an irksome and insipid selection of tracks, the prime example coming in the form of their newest single ‘I Will Wait’. With the precision and subtlety of a sledgehammer it marks the bands slow and steady slip into the mires of pop.
But it isn’t all bad, don’t get me wrong. The title track, ‘Babel’, is fierce and embodies all the elements we’ve come to associate with Mumford and Son’s energetic live performances. ‘Lovers Eyes’ is a timeless classic and true showcase of the bands ingenious talent. Other nostalgic fragments come in the form of ‘Not With Haste’ and ‘Holland Road’. But unfortunately great tracks are few and far between on this album. The search for which will have listeners feeling like a ‘truffle pig’ in search of rare and precious musical delights.