With the release of their début record Sigh No More, Mumford and Sons went from relative unknowns to the poster boys of modern folk. It suddenly became cool to like folk music, and they quickly amassed a huge fan following with their tunes.
In America, where folk and country reign supreme, their brand of music was lapped up. The album went on to sell more than five million copies worldwide, be nominated for two Grammys, and walk away with the Best Album award at the 2011 Brits.
With how popular the first record was, anticipation was rife for the release of their second album. Under huge pressure to match the successof Sign No More, Marcus Mumford and co have returned with Babel.
Despite all the acclaim, Mumford have often been criticised for their apparent narrow vision on Folk music. Babel will do very little to change this perception. In fact, very little has changed from their last album at all. Instead of taking risks and taking their sound into a brand new direction, Babel feels like a repackaged version of Sigh No More.
For example, I Will Wait bears an uncanny resemblance to The Cave with its catchy lyrics, foot stomping bass and blistering banjo. While this album feels very familiar to their last, this does not make it a bad album. Marcus Mumford once again proves he is more than capable of writing massive sing-along anthems, and Lover of the Light is an epic track which demonstrates this entirely, slowly building until its dynamic climax. Featuring huge choruses, this is sure to become a festival favourite.
Overall, Babel is a decent follow up to Sigh No More, if slightly disappointing. While it features some huge tracks, it feels far too familiar to the previous record. Perhaps when album number three rolls around we can get something different from the folk quartet.
4 of out 5