Mumford and Sons, the quartet folk/rock band from England, have released their second album, 'Babel.' Their first album, 'Sigh No More,' was released in 2009 and has sold more than 2 million copies in the US alone.
Fans looking for the stomping beats and strong rhythms that were prominent in Sigh No More will not be disappointed. However, 'Babel' does leave plenty of room for the mellow, slow beats. As a whole, it is probably a more mellow album than their debut. There is less anger and frustration in the current album, but it still pushes its way through in a few songs.
Sigh No More was a coming of age album; about life, love, heartache and dealing with getting back on your feet. Many songs have lines pulled from classic literature or are inspired by great literary works: Timshel and Dust Bowl Dance were drawn from John Steinbeck novels.
However, 'Babel' is mostly about love; specifically finding the one who brings you to your knees (literally and figuratively) - leaving you humble and causing you to surrender yourself completely. One can’t help but wonder if it’s the love story between lead singer Marcus Mumford and his new bride, actress Carey Mulligan.
Some are insisting the album is preachy, as it references Christianity from time to time. Marcus Mumford refutes that, stating that it was “more social than religious, verging on the philosophical,” writes NME. Mumford adds, “We don’t feel evangelical about anything. Really. Other than music.” The references that are made related to religion aren’t in your face or even all that common. It’s about as common as someone saying, “Bless you,” when you sneeze.
The sound is very much ‘Mumford and Sons’, though disappointment can be found in the track Lover of the Light, which is reminiscent of Dave Matthews Band - it mirrors their sound almost completely. The likeness is disorienting.
Overall, the album is fun; the writing is spectacular and (aside from Lover of the Light) the sound is truly and uniquely Mumford and Sons. They retain their earthy and raw sound. There isn't much ground-breaking or experimentation, but it definitely delivers and satisfies.
If you purchase the deluxe edition, you will be treated to three extra songs – including a well done cover of Paul Simon’s The Boxer.
Debuting this past week, Billboard reports Mumford and Sons is poised to sell as many as 600,000 copies by September 30th. If the numbers forecasted prove accurate, 'Babel' will be the top selling debut album this year, surpassing Justin Bieber’s Believe which sold over 300,000 units. The chart listing will be released on Wednesday, October 3rd.
Billboard also reports that 'Babel' could come in second for digital sales. Digital sales so far have been soaring. Currently on top is Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, which racked in 662,000 copies in its first week, which was largely helped out by Amazon’s 99-cent promotion for MP3’s the first couple of days after its release.
The first single from 'Babel,' I Will Wait, is currently number 45 on the Billboard Top 100 Songs, and number 2 for Top Rock Songs and Top Alternative Songs.
Update: Billboard has reported that 'Babel' is now the highest selling album of the year so far. With 600,000 units sold, it has surpassed the previous top spot, Justin Bieber's 'Believe', which sold over 300,000. 'Babel' sold 420,000 digital copies in it's debut week, falling short of Lady Gaga's lead, at 662,000.