By Aaron Davis (for JHWeekly.com)
Babel MUMFORD & SONS
Leaders of the emo-acoustic, stomp-pop movement, Mumford & Sons are very much a-buzz. From the stories on Babel, the dramatic quartet of Brits is obviously keen on waiting on, wishing for, chasing after, building thrones for, and making promises to, the perfect Christian lover. Bleeding hearts protract systematically as the arrangements unfold. The muscular roaring of frontman Marcus Mumford lets up occasionally instrumental climaxes. The performances are very strong, just a field away from the organic-sounding pop and punk-fused songs that drew me to several tracks on the debut, Sigh No More. Instead, the amicable batch is crisp with over-the-top-ness and shimmering production. The vibe of the album’s last two tracks (including Paul Simon’s “The Boxer” featuring dobro master Jerry Douglas) reflects the fatigue of a marathon racer in the last miles, zoned and adrenaline fatigued, yet enduring through the best moments. There’s a lot of road-tested material here – fifteen tracks summing an hour. And legitimately, it echoes the vibe of Sigh No More, built for an arena of diehards or a car commercial rather than an American club crowd.