They’ve gone electric. Mumford and Sons are back with their new release ‘Believe’, but not quite as you remember them. The banjo has been burned along with their formerly distinctive alternative folk sound and replaced by some synths, a real drum set and an electric guitar. It appears as if the band has decided to revamp their entire image, which does include an apparent end to the white shirts, suspenders and tweed waistcoats in favour of worn denim and leather jackets; it’s the end of an era.
Certainly the acoustic guitar, double bass, kick drum and of course the banjo were the beating heart of Mumford’s first two albums, Sigh No More and Babel. It would appear to be a very risky manoeuvre for them to abandon the sound that gave them so much success in the past, Marcus Mumford said ‘’it didn’t feel like a huge departure in some way… We were never too heavily wedded to a certain type of instrument’’, some would disagree with these comments; the banjo was kind of a big deal.
The track opens with some airy synths which sound as if they belong in a Coldplay album (no offence to Coldplay) before Marcus Mumford’s distinctive voice kicks in. The first half of the track continues like this, with the repeated lyrics ‘’I don’t even know if I believe/everything you’re trying to say to me’’. This steady build up certainly doesn’t have quite the same kick as some of their previous releases like ‘I Will Wait’. This steady start is interrupted about halfway through by Winston Marshall’s screeching guitar and the bands new drum set. At this point the track does build in momentum and shows some of magic which made Mumford so good in the first place.
It is true that many bands by the time they reach their third album need to show a sense of evolution, I’m not sure producing another Sigh No More or Babel would have been the right move for Mumford and Sons, so a change was probably the right move. Although ‘Believe’ does not appear to be the strongest release for their upcoming album Wilder Mind, there is definitely more excitement surrounding their new album as we can expect something different from what we’ve heard before; let’s hope they live up to expectations.
Wilder Mind is due to be released on May 4.