Mumford & Sons–Babel

I know it’s kind of odd that I’m the rare white guy who wasn’t raving about this album when it came out last week, but that’s because I hadn’t caught up with it yet. I’ve listened through it on Spotify now and let me just say that while it may or may not be one of my records of the year, it certainly is a great album from British folk rock band Mumford & Sons that more than holds its own against their brilliant debut, Sigh No More from 2009.

While there’s all sorts of spiritual undertones in this album, Babel, if the title wasn’t evident, plays on that more explicitly. “I WIll Wait,” the album’s first single, for example, falls into what I and others call the “God Or Girlfriend?” category, where you’re not sure whether singer Marcus Mumford is singing about God or, in his case, his wife, actress Carey Mulligan. Regardless, it’s dynamite; catchy, propulsive and soaring, it’s the sort of folk rock that nobody’s been making on such a grand scale for a long time.

“Broken Crown,” conversely, amps up the electric but still has that rural defiance. Mumford’s shouted chorus and the band’s solid instrumental jelling really amp things up. “Hopeless Wanderer,” despite its 5-minute length, still has a catchy chorus that sticks in your head yet encapsulates the feeling of rambling quite well.

Overall, this is a good album. Not sure if it’ll hold up as well as the first one, but nevertheless a solid sophomore effort. Recommended.

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