Mumford & Sons - Wilder Mind
Only a select few acts can command headline slots at summer festivals and sell out stadiums. There are even fewer that manage it in both the UK and US. Like it or not, Mumford & Sons have been doing just that on both sides of the Atlantic and their profile hasn't suffered from taking a break after the mega-success of 2012’s Babel. Having prospered on a foundation of populist folk, in all its foot stomping, double bass strumming, banjo plucking glory, they’ve promptly gone and dumped all that. Yes, Wilder Mind is one of those things, the sound of a massively popular band 'expanding' their sound.
At least that’s what the pre-release hype would have you believe, and whilst there are electric guitars and a broader sonic palette, and yes, no banjo or double bass, this is pretty much Mumford & Sons as you loved (or loathed) them. There are times when they cross the line into obvious touchpoints - Coldplay on ‘Broad Shouldered Beast’ and Kings Of Leon on opener ‘Tompkins Square Park’- but their capacity for foot stomping tunes, rousing choruses, and skill in building to an emotional finale remains intact. With added guitars and crashing drums you end up with ‘Believe’ and ‘Snake Eyes’, the clearest melding of the past and the present. There are plenty of crowd pleasers too: ‘The Wolf’ sets the pulse racing; ‘Monster’ gets all confessional, perfect for those big stages.
Whilst it all feels a bit manipulative, this is a serious bid for world domination. They’re an easy target, and in many respects this is all very obvious, but there’s no doubt that Wilder Mind will launch Marcus and pals into the stratosphere with populist aplomb. And really, what’s so wrong with that?