If anyone were to give credit for making it “cool” to play banjo again, that credit would be due to Mumford & Sons. Since appearing on the Grammys in 2011 with Bob Dylan, the quartet from London has now become a group to take notice of.
Arguably the most anticipated release of the year, Babel comes courtesy of the band’s own label, Glassnote Entertainment Group. Where Babel succeeds is in the vocal harmonies it contains, coupled with a ferocious sound of stringed instruments and blustery lyrics. What Babel lacks is an ability to create separation from each track. It’s as if the collection is just one magnified song parsed over 52 minutes.
The lyrics are heavy, riding on the border of gospel, as in “Below My Feet,” where Marcus Mumford sings “...well, keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn...but I was told by Jesus all is well, so all must be well.” The tracks are crammed with violin, fiddle, and banjo conjuring images of being in a corner pub with a few intoxicated friends. Which puts Babel on my list of must-haves.
Artist: Mumford & Sons
Label: Glassnote Entertainment Group
Songs: (1) Babel (2) Whispers in the Dark (3) I Will Wait (4) Holland Road (5) Ghosts That We knew (6) Lover of the Light (7) Lovers' Eyes (8) Reminder (9) Hopeless Wanderer (10) Broken Crown (11) Below My Feet (12) Not With Haste