Mumford & Sons - Wilder Mind

by Jim Harris Rating:3 Release Date:2015-05-04

Mumford & Sons are no longer that novelty band I was dragged to see in front of 200-plus people in a small venue for 10 bucks that jammed so hard on their banjos, acoustic guitars and cheap electric pianos the whole building shook and rattled and everyone stood smiling and bobbing right along with the ho-down beats and joyously innocent anthems.

They are officially Vance Joy now. Except Mumford's voice is more irritating in its faux sincerity and the continuously deliberate spaces he takes the slower paces of his whispery, breathy vocal execution, every bit as boring as the worst of Elvis Costello. I saw this band in a short clip playing in some earthy setting with Elvis Costello. They were butchering the only transcendent Springsteen song in recent memory, 'The Ghost of Tom Joad'.

There is very little to say about this third album, Wilder Mind, if you happen to be a reviewer of alternative music. Because this album is a blatant attempt at mainstream rock. The banjos have been replaced with studio bad guitars wrapped in shrink-wrap commercial processing that build to the same formulaic crescendos needed to fill arenas or, more importantly to such a band perhaps, a Lion King or equivalent soundtrack.

It shouldn't be surprising to anyone who listened to Mumford's second album, that this band lacks one essential element that takes gifted potential musicians to a higher level: creativity. Mumford was afraid to break what wasn't broken. The second album was a yawner of songs just like their first album, but without the two or three powerful songs that carried them to success.

Now their third album is a pleasant empty musical exercise in mainstream rock that you may like if you like The Lumineers or Coldplay. For an alternative listener, though, this is a tedious, boring set of nothing songs.

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