Mumford & Sons

Sigh No More (Island)


Rating: NNN


The British press was quick to question the authenticity of Mumford & Sons following the October UK release of Sigh No More. But divorced from the English “new folk” context, their debut just sounds like an earnest slice of polished roots folk.

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Occasionally, an overwrought lyrical clunker betrays the band’s youthfulness, but their willingness to dabble in myriad sub-genres and Marcus Mumford’s plaintive croak make them sound like veteran folkies. They’re not at their strongest when echoing the reverb-filled harmonies of Fleet Foxes, but when they drop their instrumental restraint, they achieve an alluring balance of plaintive folk and upbeat bluegrass. When you have a banjo in your repertoire, you use it.

There’s still room for growth, but Sigh suggests that Mumford & Sons may someday develop into something great. For now, we’ll settle for good.

Top track: The Cave

Mumford & Sons play Lee’s Palace Monday (February 15).

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