What is it about this English indie folk band that has people loving them and critics hating them?
This is an album that people are raving about…in blogs, on Facebook and in person at shows. I have heard great things about these guys for quite some time now (this album was released overseas last year). Yet, with all that word of mouth and positive reaction to their debut album, Sigh No More, it has scored a measly 64 on Metacritic and Pitchfork gave it a disgraceful 2.1.
I know, I know…Metacritic is completely flawed and Pitchfork sucks. But usually it’s the other way around. They give inflated scores to albums that don’t live up to the hype. They rarely verbally destroy good material. But rarely is the key word…it can happen. And with Mumford & Sons, it has.
I think I understand how this happened. This young band out of London has release an indie folk album filled with songs people can relate to and sing along with. The use of harmony and the banjo add flavor and keep things interesting, but the music does not get bogged down in these devices. The albums flows through and seems familiar even on the first listen. Like an old friend you haven’t heard from in so very long. But there’s where the problem lies. There is nothing original here. That’s fine for you and me and everyone who is raving about this album…but it won’t fly with those pesky critics.
I enjoy every song on this album. I would recommend and am recommending this album to anyone that likes modern folk music or even alt-country. But I do understand where the haters are coming from. While listening to this album I hear The Pogues, Dave Matthews Band, The Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, Nickel Creek…this list could go on for another hour or so. These influences give it that old friend feel, but sooner or later you are going to realize you have grown up during that time apart and your friend has not. Just playing that same ol’ music and spitting out those same ol’ lines. It entertaining as hell to remember those old times, but you just hope next time around they’ll have something new and original to say.