This fall hosts a slew of long-awaited album releases with the British folk-rock quartet Mumford & Sons topping the list. Everyone from hip-hop king Kanye West, to longtime rockers No Doubt and Green Day, to alternative’s lovable Killers have dropped records in the past two weeks.
But all these releases have been trumped by Mumford’s sophomore album, Babel.
The English folk-rock boys have done it again. The multimillion-selling quartet returns with all the harmonious, gritty, banjo strung, foot-stomping goodness last seen in 2009’s Sigh No More, which brought the band to soaring international fame.
Topping their multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated album was no easy feat. The guys have been living on the road in the wake of Sigh No More’s skyrocketing success, writing and recording sessions along the way. The delay has awarded fans an album that yields its weight in gold, or platinum, if record sales follow as expected.
Babel proves to be the ultimate roadie-in-love album. It aches with the loneliness of the road and is the absolute answer to the band’s years of touring. Even if there’s no one in your lives that you particularly miss, this album will give you that late-night lonesome feeling.
The first single off the album, “I Will Wait,” which has already grown accustomed to the airwaves, emerges as the essential sob-story “miss-you” anthem: “I came home like a stone / and I fell heavy into your arms / these days of dust, which we’ve known / will blow away with this new sun.”
The second single will be the title track “Babel” and with good reason. “Babel” kicks off the album in a ferocious, upbeat energy that is reminiscent of songs along the like of “The Cave” from Sigh No More.
Other tracks, like “Lover’s Eyes” and “Ghosts That We Knew” take it down a notch with slower harmonies, all the while infusing a sense of heartache and uncertainty. “Hopeless Wanderer” takes this a step further with added desperation so intense you can practically taste it.
“Reminder,” a song about being apart from a loved one, continues the album’s remorse: “and I won’t hear you cry when I’m gone / I won’t know if I’m doing you wrong.”
Whether you miss your family back home, a friend studying abroad, or the one that got away, this album will sink in. Mumford masters the art of transfusing their agony into song, whether they are stomping around or acoustically musing. Babel had big shoes to fill, and it doesn’t disappoint. I give this album five stars out of five.