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By Julie Peppiatt on 25.9.2023

Mumford & Sons follow-up album review: Babel

Off the road, carrying a ‘live energy’ you can truly feel: Babel is an album more honest than ever before. Taking on the realisation of their success with maturity; a darker side of Mumford and Sons has been released, further exploring their own musical revolution. Noisy confusion leads to a romantic take on modern day life that has, once again, created something sublime.
Given the knowledge that Mumford and Sons have become a mainstream band, they have been given licence to explore deeper issues with more grit and more explicitly in `Babel`. Marcus Mumford’s same ardent voice now holds more toil, his exasperation more pertinent than ever before. Lulling percussion lines are now a little unnerving; repetition in minor keys embody a darker message, one that grabs hold of you until you listen wholeheartedly. There is no need for Mumford and Sons to disguise their melancholy any longer, as there is now a large audience out there craving so much more.

Unlike their previous album Sigh No More, their music no longer holds us in comfort – no longer provides a continual joviality. Mumford and Sons are no longer a listening ear, but a gentle push in the right direction. They feel we are now ready for naked realism. In receipt of our love for their music, they only give us more, presenting realistic hardships that will shock us into our own independence. Their music now holds our hands so that we can dance in centre stage. Mumford and Sons have grown and changed for the better and now it’s our turn to do the same, influenced by their guiding hand.

A darker side is more salient in the tracks on this album; lyrics need less metaphorical interpretation, and the hearty Irish soul of their music has proven not to always mask despair. But it is a good kind of darkness, one we cannot shy away from and can only face with joy. Mumford and Sons; ‘Lovers of the Light’, reveal their darkest moments, becoming more exposed with every track. A year on the road has influenced their sound and the ringing of guitar amps ending Babel; ‘I will wait’ accompanied by a live recording video and the pace of their fast moving tour van running through all twelve tracks. The road has allowed them to experiment with something more, grounded by the same harmonic genius, but ever changing as all great bands should. If you’re looking for a continuation of ‘Sigh No More’ in ‘Babel’ you will not find it. You will find something better.

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