Reviewed by Andrew Scott
By the time Mumford & Sons had finished touring their last album, 2013’s Babel, they had become the band most people loved to hate. It also appeared that the band themselves weren’t that happy with what they had become. The band announced in September 2013 that they were going on hiatus and guitarist Winston Marshall was quoted as saying “Fuck the banjo. I fucking hate the banjo.”
Now the band returns with their new record Wilder Mind and a completely new sound. The album opens with Tompkins Square Park which sounds like it was lifted off Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs. The lead single Believe comes complete with an Edge from U2 style guitar solo. The next few tracks again borrow heavily from the sound of The War on Drugs latest release, with driving drums and swirling, multi-layered guitar lines. The strongest songs are found in the middle of the record. Broad-Shouldered Beasts returns to the song writing style of the band’s previous releases and show what the band could have achieved if they had worked on evolving their original sound. Cold Arms is a beautiful solo Marcus Mumford ballad and perfectly showcases his talents. The band returns to the The War on Drugs–influenced soundscape for the last few songs.
There are glimpses of what could have been but they are few and far between. The record borrows too heavily from other bands such as U2, Coldplay and The War on Drugs. In trying desperately to distance themselves from their previous sound, Mumford & Sons have ditched the elements which made them unique and morphed into another generic rock band.
Recommended Track: Broad-shouldered Beasts