Mumford & Sons recently returned with new material from their forthcoming third album ‘Wilder Mind’. They first dropped ‘Believe’ as an introduction to things to come and showed us how they’d shunned the banjos and the contemporary folk side of things that initially made them stand out. Here at Mojo20 we got straight on with it and our own Robert Smith reviewed ‘Believe’ with many a positive thing to say. He then pointed me in the direction of follow up single ‘The Wolf’ and suggested I review this one. Now, as a bit of a traditional folk and blues fan I have to admit that when these guys first surfaced in 2009 I was told by everybody and his dog that Mumford & Sons were definitely a bit of me and I should endeavour to listen to their debut album as it’d be my new favourite thing. Of course if anybody suggests new music to me, I often ignore their recommendation and just get on with my day so it was a good six to nine months before I actually did put down my barrier and let ‘Sigh no more’ into my life. It was eventually the dance floor power of ‘Little lion man’ and the undeniable beauty of songs like ‘I Gave You All’ and ‘The Cave’ that finally won me over, and yes it was the interesting use of banjos and double bass that intrigued me and kept me interested enough to listen to follow up album ‘Babel’, that and the subject matter which was plain and simple, relatable content with an abstract and poetic twist in Marcus Mumford’s lyrics.
So when I heard that they were dropping this whole schtick and going it alone as basically just another middle of the road white boy indie pop band, I was concerned. ‘Believe’ didn’t really bother me at all, didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. It did end up becoming a grower and I’m day by day enjoying more than I did the day previous, so maybe ‘The Wolf’ will be even better right? Right?
Well to be honest, this second release is no more to me than an up-tempo follow up to the first single. I can’t really see any huge differences between ‘Believe’ and ‘The Wolf’ apart from the tempo. It could be a Coldplay song, in fact it could be a David Gray song. In fact much like its predecessor it’s just alright. You know? It’s not great, but it’s not poor. It’s just ok. The music video is also extremely similar to the one before it and therefore has not inspired a great deal of interest either.
It’s a shame really, because I had grown to love Mumford & Sons and even when it became glaringly obvious that they weren’t the coolest band of all time and were basically becoming the next Coldplay I still tried to stick with them because, really they were championing a genre I had a lot of love for and gave me something truly modern that I relate back to something so pure and genuine. But this new stuff has hit me like nothing more than a giant shoulder shrug and they’ve become so middle of the road they’re the fucking Lollipop lady. Of course this isn’t a case of writing them off or even slagging them off. It’s merely saying we are at a neutral point at the minute and we’ve got the rest of the album to see some positivity, so please do show me it. I want to get back on board, I just need their help.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)