Friday, November 12, 2010

Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More


This band have the honour of being the band that officially made me feel very very old.  Because when I saw that they'd topped the Triple J Hottest 100 this year - I had absolutely no idea who they were.  But of course, I'd heard Little Lion Man - and had kind of dismissed it.  And I wonder if it would have made the top of the list if the chorus wasn't "I really fucked it up this time".  Triple J is the nation's Youth radio network, after all.  Ah, to be so young and rebellious, to vote for a song with "fuck" in it.

Listening to the whole album for the first time for this review, I have to say that song is the stand-out. And I'm really puzzled as to why these guys, of everyone making music today, get such plaudits.  It's not that the music's not great, because it is.  These guys can really play.  But for a girl brought up with the folk of Joan Baez and others, there's something missing in the state of Mumford - meaning.  Where's the politics?  Where's the rage?  It's literary and poetic - but there's no guts and all glory.



There was a lot of fuss made about Mumford & Sons when their music first hit the Australian airwaves.  The Australian market has been very good to the band and Sigh No More, their debut, has so far achieved double platinum status here.  This was no doubt further helped by their track, Little Lion Man, being voted top song in the Triple J Hottest 100 early this year by a considerable margin.

Often times, particularly with English acts, the music media over-hypes a band to the point where I deliberately avoid having anything to do with them.  But in this case, the hype is spot on and well-deserved.  Sigh No More is a fantastic, incredibly accomplished debut of twelve memorable songs that straddle the lines between folk, country and contemporary rock.  And when a man like Ray Davies steps up and names the band as a favourite, you better believe they're better than good.

This is the kind of music that deserves to be played loud and live, in front of a sweaty, smiling, beer-fuelled crowd who sing the words to the sky like a gospel.  It is postive, powerful and one of the most honestly uplifting pieces of music I've heard in years.


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