The Questionable Reinvention of Mumford & Sons
The release of the third Mumford & Sons album is highly anticipated with fans (myself included) more than ready for the return of their unique blend of indie/folk. The band has teased a new sound for “Wilder Mind”, which is expected on May 4th, and I am admittedly a little disappointed by the reinvention of the Mumford & Sons sound. Here is a breakdown of the first two “Wilder Mind” singles and what this means for the new album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW6SkvErFEE
“Believe”, the first single off “Wilder Mind”, is a typical alternative rock ballad: heavy guitar with some elements of electronic or synthesized sound. While the song isn’t bad, it in no way resembles the Mumford & Sons that I used to know and love. I get serious Kings of Leon vibes when I listen to this song, which while experimenting with sound is not necessarily a bad thing, “Believe” lacks the stripped down acoustic quality that made Mumford & Sons so unique.
The second single, ‘The Wolf”, features a fast-paced rhythmic intro which is very reminiscent of the intense banjo-driven tempo of older Mumford & Sons music. However, the banjo and acoustic guitar have once again been replaced with a much heavier sound. Electric guitar riffs and strong drumbeats drive the song, overshadowing the always heartfelt lyrics of Marcus Mumford: “I wanna learn to love in kind/ Because you’re all I ever long for”. The sound seems very stadium ready and while Mumford & Sons has always maintained a strong festival and tour presence, the authenticity of earlier live seasons seems to be lost.
With less than a month until the release of “Wilder Mind”, it’s unclear whether Mumford & Sons will continue to make new album tracks available. Hopefully the new sound and style choices will positively change the direction of Mumford & Sons music while maintaining the raw realness of previous albums.