SONG OF THE WEEK – Believe (Mumford & Sons)

Mumford & Sons ditch the banjos and synth it up, but does it work?

When you think of Mumford & Sons, I’m sure you see a group of private-school educated folkers in rustic waistcoats, stomping on kickdrums and ripping their fingers to shreds on instruments that went out of fashion 50 years ago.

So I’m sure it will come as a surprise to hear that they’ve done away with 1895 and replaced it with something more akin to 1985. With not a banjo to be heard, BELIEVE is ambitious and atmospheric, in direct opposition to their former middle-of-the-road anthems and bright fingerpicked guitars. For the first two minutes, Marcus Mumford’s distinctive voice sails on the vessel of the chilled, mysterious backing, with the only easily identifiable instruments a piano playing little riffs and an occasional bass intrusion.

Then, inevitably, it spends a minute and a half going bonkers and letting Mumford sing his crusty lungs out, his gritty, husky tones rolling like ships in a hurricane over the thumping drums (yes, real drums) and electric guitars (don’t faint). As an exercise in songwriting it isn’t going to make any great waves, but as a display of the band’s versatility this could be a massive step. Whether or not you were a fan of their previous work, this is different enough from that to bring in a whole new raft of fans but retains enough in it’s innate catchy nature to draw in those who were quite fond of 1895.

The industrial revolution has finally reached Mumfordland – and they’re on board the train to more success.

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