November 24, 2009
Mumford & Sons... this is a giddy thing
Earlier this year, I feel into passionate love with a track by Roots Union called Rough Diamonds (read post). Beautiful, rustic English folk that has just enough melodicism to verge into pop. Their album comes out in 2010, but before that we have Mumford & Sons and their own debut Sigh No More. I think this London quartet will appeal to folks who like Idlewild/Roddy Woomble, The Pogues, Passenger, and The Waterboys. One of the band, the singer, is the "Mumford" - Marcus (and he's cute) and one of them is actually named Country Winston.
Sigh No More - the title of this post comes from that song's chorus - was produced by Markus Dravs, who engineered Arcade Fire's Neon Bible, an album that will end up on many Top of The 00's lists. When he realized the band did not own any instruments he briefly kicked them out of the studio until they bought some. The songs feature banjo, bass, dobro and organ, but are usually quite muscular, often building into... not walls, but tornadoes of sound. While the album has yet to appear on US iTunes, their single Little Lion Man is available.
The album has better tracks, in my opinion, than either of the above singles. I highly recommend White Blank Page, which has a really bracing arrangement that comes fully alive about a minute in. The Times recently posted a free acoustic version of the song. Dust Bowl Dance (hear it) is equally thrilling, folk music rage of the kind The Waterboys did so well in the 80s and 90s. This is a band that deserves far more attention than they've received. Almost every song has a moment of catharsis, often moving from pastoral folk to tempest in four minutes.
Sign No More also has a fantastic album cover that you will see again on this blog in December. They are touring the UK in March, with some January festivals in Oz.