Finely crafted ‘Sigh No More’ redefining indie-folk genre

Published On:
Thursday, February 18, 2010
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Mumford & Sons
Album: Sigh No More
Label: Island Records
Pitchforks: 4 out of 5 pitchforks

With the recent explosion of indie-folk music, and of course the ever-growing field of banjo-wielding bearded gentlemen, it has become increasingly difficult to find authentically crafted and well thought out folk music.

Mumford and Sons are four young lads from London who hail from the same scene that brought us Laura Marling, Jay Jay Pistolet and Noah and the Whale. They’ve set out to re-introduce the real essence of folk, and with “Sigh No More” they seem to have done just that.

Formed in 2007, Mumford and Sons blend a unique mix of folk, country, bluegrass and heart-wrenching lyrics to create music that is definitely folk at heart, but tame enough for your average listener to appreciate. They initially got their start supporting the already indie-approved Marling at some of her concerts, before eventually stepping out of the shadows with their own debut.

With “Sigh No More,” they manage to craft an indie-pop record with its obvious folk influences and lyrics that tell tales of love and hurt. It is impossible to ignore the whimsical melodies and the ever-present banjos and mandolins that make listening to the album a musical excursion rather than your typical indie record.

The album kicks off with the album’s title track, “Sigh No More,” a soft banjo-driven track with blissful melodies, which then kicks in halfway through with a mesmerizing explosion of banjos, guitars and drums.

With “Winter Winds,” the band mixes a gentle balance of Noah and the Whale’s airy pop and accompanying sounds of the ever-present horns that breathe life into this track and defines the rest of their album.

The lead single of the album, “Little Lion Man,” shows the true strength of the band — the fast-paced guitar, banjos and softly thumping drums accompanied by heart gripping lyrics create an emotionally charged, epic song: “Your grace is wasted in your face, your boldness stands alone among the wreck.”

“Timshel” and “White Blank Page” finds the band making use of vocal harmonies and though not as glorious as, say, a Fleet Foxes record, it is definitely well done and it is clear they put some of their own musical chops into it.

“Sigh No More” is undoubtedly a fine debut from a band that has not only carefully crafted well-laid melodies, but also the fine story telling that true lovers of folk will always appreciate.

They are a band worth watching — with this record, they have proven they have what it takes to make their mark and in time, they will.

Reach Ade at ahkassim@asu.edu