Album Review: Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More

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Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More
Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More (Image courtesy of Island Records)

When you think of trendy London, England, you often think of more futuristic "cutting edge" musical styles. Recently, however, London seems to be in the midst of a folk renaissance. Fans and critics alike are taking notice of a more organic music performed by artists like Fanfarlo, Johnny Flynn, Laura Marling and the band which often backs the British chanteuse, Mumford and Sons.

The group's namesake is founder Marcus Mumford, who also sings and plays guitar. This English quartet has been on a white-hot run since forming in 2007. Their career has taken off since an appearance at the SXSW festival, and they've become big in Australia.

Mumford and Sons new album, Sigh No More, as catchy as H1N1, is inspired by folk and bluegrass. Their songs are simply about the human condition, and remind me of artists like Fairport Convention, the Waterboys, or the Pogues, without all the liquor. That's not to say the band's sound isn't intoxicating. The track "Winter Winds" is like an Irish folk tune that makes me want to hoist a pint and sing along.

Marcus Mumford is an old fashioned "street-busker" singing his "love gone wrong" songs full of banjos and fiddles, like a personal form of therapy. Their songs often build to a big blissful moment of triumph, as heard in the track, "The Cave," where Mumford delivers lines like, "And I will hold on hope/And I won't let you choke/On the noose around your neck/And I'll find strength in pain/And I will change my ways/I'll know my name as it's called again."

I imagine that performances from this band are like group therapy, where fans literally take over the song. That's especially evident on the band's, "Little Lion Man," where Mumford takes the blame for his relationship gone bad singing the expletive-riddled chorus, "It's not your fault but mine/I really f-ed it up this time." Thank goodness for this invention called the "radio edit!"

Other highlights include the kiss-off song, "Awake My Soul," and the soulful, "Thistle and Weeds," in which Mumford sings the line "I Will Hold On" like he is trying to sell himself on the idea.

Sigh No More is an album that makes you believe in the power in music. Mumford and Sons songs make you feel like we are all in this so-called life together.