After snuffing out numerous breakup and “significant hiatus” rumors over the last year, Mumford and Sons have climbed their way to the #2 spot on the Billboard album charts this week with their newest release, Wilder Mind. Looking for that familiar Mumford sound on this album? You won’t find it, as with the new album comes a new sound.
The group started out strumming banjos in the London folk scene in 2007. Over the last eight years they have managed to gain fans worldwide with their unique sound. However, don’t go in to their third album expecting to hear banjos and accordions. The group has laid their signature sound to rest, at least for the time being, to embrace an edgier, rock vibe. The banjos may have been replaced with electric guitars, but don’t think that the heart of their music is gone. From Tompkins Square Park all the way through Snake Eyes you will still hear the same type of lyrical content that you have come to expect from this foursome. From strained relationships to daily struggles, the message has not changed.
Though this step in a different direction has proven to be a fruitful decision for the group, some fans from the Little Lion Man days have found themselves feeling that they’ve forsaken their uniqueness to embrace a more modern, universally accepted sound. This backlash from some of their fans is very similar to when Bob Dylan put down his acoustic and went electric. This may not have made everyone happy. And he may have lost a few fans. But ultimately it helped him to be able to reach out to a larger audience and increase his fan base tenfold. I believe this to be the case as well with Wilder Mind. It may not make everyone a fan but people who before found themselves unable to get past the banjos to hear the message of their music now “get it” with this new Mumford and Sons album.
Bottom line, a true artist is always growing. They are always experimenting to see what works and what does not. As far as what they have done with Wilder Mind, it works. You get the very best of this group with this album. Though some have voiced that they believe it to be a “sell out” move I believe that it was a move that needed to be made in order for them to be able to move forward. It is a move that any artist who has stood the test of time has made at some point in their career. Where some see this as the fizzling out of the fire that the group used to have I see it as the spark reigniting the very essence of what makes this group so great.