Babel review by Mumford and Sons

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  • Released: Sep 21, 2012
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (76 votes)
Mumford and Sons: Babel

Sound — 9
This time around, the knit and grit the band had previously exhumed has a slightly polished sheen to it. Since their debut three years ago, the band has refined their craft while expanding their sound in the recording studio. While the sound has always been large, this go around it feels fuller than ever. The album is littered with rich harmonies, deep echoing volleys of the bass, piano and guitar, and oh man - oh my - oh me (Fleet Foxes anyone?) the grit in Marcus Mumford's voice on "Broken Crown" is unyielding. He's like a lion... A guitar toting, kickdrum stomping lion.

Lyrics — 9
Realistically, the lyrics have evolved very little beyond that of "Sign No More". Yes, the band has a bit of an Old English fetish, but really, what you see is what you get - or in this case, what you hear is what you get. And yes, the word heart is in just about every song at least once. The song lyrics range from hope, pride and optimism, to rage and extreme pessimism. For example, in their first single for the album titled "I Will Wait", the expressed tone of the lyrics is that of being humble and "knowing your ground": "Now I'll be bold / As well as strong / Use my head alongside my heart / So take my flesh / Fix my eyes / Tethered mind free from the lies". Then, in the track "Broken Crown" the lyrics focus on darker, more sorrowful topics. "The pull on my flesh was just to strong / Stifled the choice and the air in my lungs / Better not to breathe then to breathe in a lie / Cause when I open my body I breathe the light / I will not speak of your sins / There was a way out for him / The mirror shows not / Your values are all shot". So while the words themselves have not changed much, their meanings are ever strong. The writing is poetic, gentle and sewn together beautifully whilst being thrust into energy and vibrancy that the band is known for.

Overall Impression — 9
"Babel" is... Impressive. I think the argument over whether it's better than "Sigh No More" can never be won nor lost. Most of music history will state that this band re-engaged a genre of music that many thought would be gone in as little as the next generation. Mumford And Sons revived folk rock for a broader audience. "Sigh No More" will forever be the benchmark for their success. What I believe they have done with "Babel" is create more exceptional folk rock, perhaps securing their career's as musicians for quite a while down the road.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "Sigh No More" went platinum 12 times over 3 years, so I'm pretty sure they are doing something right. Whether you listen to pop, death metal, or country; Mumford & Sons are something to take a listen to and appreciate that there are bands still out there that are original. p.s. its not acoustic pop, rock, country metal, they create their own genre. This review is for fans. If you don't like them, then why are you on this review.
    Reviews aren't intended for fans, it's to showcase an opinion and convince others to buy or avoid something. And I LOVED Sigh No More. This album just lacks the same qualities that made their debut interesting
    You loved Sigh No More? Why would you call the band "so f***ing bad" and then say this? That's really confusing, man.
    wasnt intending on offending anyone....just never seen much on this site other than, rock, metal and punk etc.....but i did search youtube and personally found a few of their songs a bote, i do actually look at album reviews and give them a try just for the fun of it to see if i discover any cool new music
    Guess so. I don't see why you have to say my review is shitty because of the rating. Perhaps if you didn't like my writing style, or the way I constructed my claim. But my rating is my opinion. Opinions aren't facts, thus, it is useless to dispute them. I already know that most people will not feel the same connection to this album (and particularly the lyrics) that I do. That's why I present the facts and then opine. To disagree is fine, and I am not offended. However, I am offended that you would insult your own intelligence by starting an argument (and continuing it after I extended an olive branch) that has no platform whatsoever. We can run in circles all week, vomiting opinions and ratings left and right, or we can agree to disagree on the quality of this album, and I will gladly accept your (most likely unstated) apology.
    Matt (I'm also a Matt lol), your review was very well constructed and it led me to want to write my own review, which I believe isn't nearly as informative.
    I don't think anyone is trying to trash on your review. I think it was well-written and spelled out some great points, but a 10/10 is a near godlike sort of score to give something. Sure, it is your opinion, but there are very few albums that exist that would deserve such a perfect score. I wouldn't even give most of my favorite albums such a rating. I hope you don't take this as a reason to stop writing reviews, just make sure that you are being as critical as possible.
    why are they even on this site, seriously how can that be rock? to me its an acoustic pop band!
    What gives you the right to say what type of music gets posted by other people, who by the way have every right to do so, when this ISN'T just a rock guitar site. This site is filled with every genre of music known to man. And I'm sick of every douchey metal head who thinks they own this place or something. I've contributed over 100+ tabs and reviews. Most of them acoustic, folk, bluegrass, country, etc. This is just as much a site for those genres as it is for metal, rock, punk...