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Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 9
Production 9.25
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 90%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.41
Musicianship 8.11
Lyrics 7.93
Production 8.27
Creativity 7.93
Lasting Value 8.05
Reviewer Tilt 7.77
Average: 81%

Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (03/26/10)
Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More
Record Label: Glassnote
Release Date: Feb. 16, 2010

And the bar has been set even higher.

Of all the European bands to focus attention on and there are many few are as worthy as the British quartet Mumford and Sons. Founded in 2007 by Marcus Mumford and three of his closest friends, the band's full-length debut Sigh No More is a folk musician's wet dream: a cornucopia of acoustic arrangements, brass accompaniments and a multitude of resplendent crescendos.

Aided by the sturdy vocals of Mumford, the disc opens up with the teetering title track, a quiet exercise that later collapses on top of itself and gives way to a rousing finish. The song also serves as a harbinger of things to come as the dramatic conclusion is repeated in nearly all of the disc's dozen songs. "White Blank Page," is especially potent as Mumford belts, "But tell me now, where was my fault, in loving you with my whole heart." Even at its most crestfallen, the music is so vibrant and rich, the end result is hypnotic and undeniably alluring.

For all its dark and hazy verses (Ill go out back and Ill get my gun / you havent met me yet Im the only son,") Sigh No More is indeed a record about hope. More often than not Mumford sings about compassion and tenderness in the most endearing ways. A sampling of said compassion includes: "But take the spade from my hands and fill in the holes you've made," "I'll find strength in pain and I will change my ways," "And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears," "I won't let you choke on that noose around your neck." Sprinkled into the mix are verses about waning faith, the strength of willpower and armfuls of domestic dysfunction.

The biting ballast of "Thistle and Weeds," "Roll Away Your Stone," and "Little Lion Man," take on all comers with dubious lyrics, winning choruses and pounding organs, while the hopeful "Winter Winds," and the deeply affecting "Timshel," allow gently plucked guitars to marry well with their textured harmonies. "I Gave You All," on the other hand is a timeless ode to hindsight and a wrecked romance, in which Mumford vacillates from weary to hopeful to bitter to murderous in one fell swoop. Similarly, "Awake My Soul," is explosive, ecstatic and rapturous, possessing a hurricane of emotion. The optimistic and pensive closer, "After the Storm" paints a lucid resolution to an album that traverses stormy fields of vengeance, bitter ache and despair.

Anchored by mandolin, banjos and flugelhorns, to name a few, Sigh No More is richly textured, exquisitely performed and without flaw. Producer Markus Dravs (Coldplay, Bjork James, Brian Eno) knows how to perfectly harness the band's ambition, allowing the quartet to never falter under the weight of their own expectations. Due in part to its abundance of climactic finishes and riveting crescendos, the disc is undoubtedly histrionic, a trait that for many would come across as forced, feigned or foolhardy. Instead, these barely twenty-somethings have crafted an impressive and anthemic disc that howls, belts and struts from start to finish. Boozy, love-weary and ever resilient, Mumford and his bandmates fight against pestilence and plague in a forward march that is sweetly harmonic, foot-stompingly tremendous and nothing short of irresistible.

What's most exciting about Sigh No More is that this isn't a band ten albums into their career finally hitting their stride. This is indeed the band's first full-length disc. Aside from three EPs, there is no vast back catalog of material. And then there's the youth. How did a disc this forward-thinking, this dramatic and this timeless come from four lads so young? Who is truly more precocious than them? Transformative, entrancing and wholly confident, Sigh No More is head and shoulders above the competition. And while lofty expectations now rest on their shoulders, this British quartet seems ever capable to take on the burden of being "the next big thing." One listen to this disc is proof of that.

Track Listing 1. Sigh No More
2. The Cave
3. Winter Winds
4. Roll Away Your Stone
5. White Blank Page
6. I Gave You All
7. Little Lion Man
8. Timshel
9. Thistle and Weeds
10. Awake My Soul
11. Dust Bowl Dance
12. After the Storm


Mumford and Sons is Country Winston Marshall: vocals, banjo, dobro
Ben Lovett: vocals, keyboards, organ
Ted Dwane: vocals, double bass
Marcus Mumford: vocals, acoustic guitar, kick drum, tambourine, mandolin


Recommended If You Like The Swell Season, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Noah and the Whale, Crosby Stills Nash and Young


Find Them Here Myspace
Website
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 66.
10:26 AM on 03/26/10
#2
S9Dallasoz
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People LOVE this band.
Hasn't yet clicked with me yet, though.
10:30 AM on 03/26/10
#3
live.
Feenay! Fee hee hee hee heenay!
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Nice review. I can only get into "Little Lion Man" as of late, but maybe I need to revisit this one.
10:37 AM on 03/26/10
#4
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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People LOVE this band.
Hasn't yet clicked with me yet, though.
That's how I feel about them too
10:42 AM on 03/26/10
#5
Jeremy Aaron
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I've seen some pretty scathing commentary on this album, but I can't help but love it. "Little Lion Man" has become a huge, huge hit around here, and I can easily see them blowing up big time.
10:42 AM on 03/26/10
#6
gjpinizz
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i had a chance to listen to half of this one night and couldn't get it out of my head for two days. finally got to listen to it a few times more and continued to love it.

really glad this album got a review here. this album is really great. the lyrics are amazing
10:45 AM on 03/26/10
#7
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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I've seen some pretty scathing commentary on this album, but I can't help but love it. "Little Lion Man" has become a huge, huge hit around here, and I can easily see them blowing up big time.
So glad you are a fan. And yeah, Pitchfork slammed it, as did a few others. I'm not quite sure why? Is it too dramatic for people? Are the soaring crescendos too much? It's pretty confusing to me. So nice to know they are big in the state capital. They have yet to make a dent on Long Island. And yeah, I do think they are in for a break out year.
11:03 AM on 03/26/10
#8
inthemidst
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With this much praise from you Greg, I'm forced to comply by looking into these guys. I've only heard of them through word of mouth, but this most certainly sounds like a splendid listen.
11:06 AM on 03/26/10
#9
Gregory Robson
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With this much praise from you Greg, I'm forced to comply by looking into these guys. I've only heard of them through word of mouth, but this most certainly sounds like a splendid listen.
It won't let you down.
11:08 AM on 03/26/10
Jeremy Aaron
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So glad you are a fan. And yeah, Pitchfork slammed it, as did a few others. I'm not quite sure why? Is it too dramatic for people? Are the soaring crescendos too much? It's pretty confusing to me. So nice to know they are big in the state capital. They have yet to make a dent on Long Island. And yeah, I do think they are in for a break out year.
Well, we are lucky enough that our alternative station is independently run, so the playlist is more left of center than most. I only listen in the car, but they play the top 5 requested songs of the day during my commute home, and "Little Lion Man" has been at the top every day for at least the last two weeks. I don't know how much appeal they are likely to have to a wider audience, but they've definitely found some fans.

As for Pitchfork et al., I read most of Pitchfork's reviews every day, and while I admire their writing acumen, I sometimes get a sour taste from their ever-present cynicism. After reading their work, I sometimes wonder if Stephen M. Deusner, Scott Plagenhoef and friends have ever truly enjoyed an album in their lives. For me, that's paramount. So if I feel an emotional connection to something and like the music, it will get a high score from me. Those guys are way too cool for that.
11:08 AM on 03/26/10
inthemidst
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Thanks for the rec as always!
11:09 AM on 03/26/10
inthemidst
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Well, we are lucky enough that our alternative station is independently run, so the playlist is more left of center than most. I only listen in the car, but they play the top 5 requested songs of the day during my commute home, and "Little Lion Man" has been at the top every day for at least the last two weeks. I don't know how much appeal they are likely to have to a wider audience, but they've definitely found some fans.

As for Pitchfork et al., I read most of Pitchfork's reviews every day, and while I admire their writing acumen, I sometimes get a sour taste from their ever-present cynicism. After reading their work, I sometimes wonder if Stephen M. Deusner, Scott Plagenhoef and friends have ever truly enjoyed an album in their lives. For me, that's paramount. So if I feel an emotional connection to something and like the music, it will get a high score from me. Those guys are way too cool for that.
Amen.
11:11 AM on 03/26/10
con40dmitri
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good.
11:11 AM on 03/26/10
Gregory Robson
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Well, we are lucky enough that our alternative station is independently run, so the playlist is more left of center than most. I only listen in the car, but they play the top 5 requested songs of the day during my commute home, and "Little Lion Man" has been at the top every day for at least the last two weeks. I don't know how much appeal they are likely to have to a wider audience, but they've definitely found some fans.

As for Pitchfork et al., I read most of Pitchfork's reviews every day, and while I admire their writing acumen, I sometimes get a sour taste from their ever-present cynicism. After reading their work, I sometimes wonder if Stephen M. Deusner, Scott Plagenhoef and friends have ever truly enjoyed an album in their lives. For me, that's paramount. So if I feel an emotional connection to something and like the music, it will get a high score from me. Those guys are way too cool for that.
In total agreement about Pitchfork. Very well said. Also. similar to your local radio station. My brother lives in Raleigh, NC and the local CD store has been sold out of Sigh No More for almost a month now. Every time he comes in, they're out of stock.
11:42 AM on 03/26/10
mushroom
I Knew Alfred J Prufrock
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Brilliant record unfortunately its just been made irrelevant by Laura Marling's "I Speak Because I Can", actually come to think about it Marcus used to play drums for Laura and i think he does quite alot of backing vocals on her new album aswell.
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