180 of 197 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2010
It's not often you stumble across a band that wins your heart within the first few chords. I was looking for a different band, and stumbled across Mumford & Sons instead. I heard The Cave and I loved it before the song had even made it to the minute mark. Then the banjo starts just after a minute and I knew I was going to like this band very, very much.
Mumford & Sons are something to talk about, in my opinion. It's not often you get a bluegrass country folky sort of band that actually makes it to mainstream radio. And they are successful for good reason! They write unforgettable melodies that beg you to hit repeat and infuse a whole bunch of styles to create something amazing. I find it a very likeable cross between Kings of Leon and The Fray, but with a banjo.
Track by Track:
Sigh No More - I must admit, this is a skip-able track for me. It's good, but by no means the best on the album. It's a good intro track and slowly lets you get into the mood. It introduces you to the style that will follow throughout most of the album, that is slowly building until it explodes at the end. But I think the reason it is skip-able is because I'm rushing to get to the next... 4/5
The Cave - This is simply an amazing song. Love at first listen, for sure. It starts off with Marcus's gravelly voice before building up to the banjo and then settling down again. The melody is infectious, as is the lyrics. I can guarantee you'll be singing along to the chorus at the top of your lungs in no time. 5/5
Winter Winds - The second single off the album that for some reason didn't do nearly as well as Little Lion Man, but in my opinion, just as good. It flows along like a river and is a hard one to skip. 5/5
Roll Away Your Stone - This one is particularly folky. It's one of the more upbeat, bluegrass infused songs and is sure to get your foot tapping. It's a great track, though not one my favourites. There are better melodies on the album than this and I find it a little disjointed. 4.5/5
White Blank Page - Definitely a standout track! This song is so achingly beautiful. Marcus's voice is simply stunning in it, you can actually feel the despair in his voice. It picks up just after the minute mark and the song soars into a powerful ballad with a whole lot of angst. 5/5
I Gave You All - A beautiful song. It is another that follows their style and builds from a quiet, soft ballad into powerful, angst-ridden track. 5/5
Little Lion Man - The first single! It was highly successful for very good reason. It is simply an amazing song. This is the one where the Kings of Leon comparisons come in... but with banjo. The banjo is definitely a highlight in this and as soon as it started, I was won. Also another chorus singalong track, extremely catchy! 5/5
Timshel - The harmonies at the beginning of this track draw you in and never really let go. It's one of the slowest on the album, and very beautiful. 4.5/5
Thistle & Weeds - This track is a little different, a little darker than the rest. It also has more of an appearance of piano in it, which works really well. It's a great track, but not my favourite. It lacks the melody of the others, in my opinion. 4/5
Awake My Soul - It's about this point in the album where I start to realise I'm liking almost every song. This is another catchy, beautiful track. Great intrumentalisation. 4.5/5
Dust Bowl Dance - This is quite likely the best written track on the album. The start is incredible. The banjo riff is so soft and melodious it makes your spine tingle. After this, it changes direction quite a bit and simply explodes into a wild, violent and angry piece. It is the best story-telling song of the whole album. The only problem is, I like the beginning much more the end and they're so different it feels like two different songs sometimes. I've got into this habit of flicking back to the start halfway through just to hear the banjo riff again... 5/5
After The Storm - A slow, beautiful, melodious track. It's one to listen to late at night, in the dark with your headphones on. Just close your eyes and listen. It is one the standout tracks, for sure. Amazing. It has some of my favourite lyrics on the album: "There will come a time you'll see/With no more tears and love will not break your heart/But dismiss your fears." 5/5
This is one of those albums that is going to get a lot of spins in my player, and will be a feature in my car for years to come I expect! Get it. It's awesome. =)
White Blank Page
Little Lion Man
Dust Bowl Dance
After The Storm
77 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2009
I have been buying rock music for over fifty years and this is definitely amongst my top five albums of all time. Could even be the best.Very hard to believe it is a first album! The music seems to be a fusion of rock,folk,and bluegrass and has echoes of the early Strawbs album,[[ASIN:B00000B96Q From The Witchwood] I loved the light and shade of tone, the changes of rhythm and pace,and the passionate, spiritual lyrics with their encouragement to identify with what it is like to be fully human in a flawed, but God made world. I can give no greater compliment to Marcus Mumford other than to say that if John Donne and the other metaphysical poets were alive today, they would be writing lyrics like these.Marcus is clearly very mature and talented and has gathered a tight and gifted band around him whose performance is enhanced by a superb production.They deserve to have success "rain down" on them, yet when I saw them interviewed on YouTube,] they seemed to be refreshingly modest and content to let the music speak eloquently for them. And it really does! I can't wait to see a gig of theirs. Go out and buy this. You won't regret it. You might even "Sigh no More".
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2011
I had heard Little Lion Man and The Cave on the radio a couple of times and I decided to spring for this special edition. I have to say I was a little surprised about what I heard coming from the rest of this album. While Little Lion man, The Cave, and Dust Bowl Dance lean towards rock with a folksy twist, the rest of the album tends to lean more in the Folk genre. So if all you're familiar with is Little Lion Man and the Cave and you really don't want to listen to Folksy music, walk err.. mouse away now... but be warned you'll be missing out on a great album.
I don't listen to Folk music usually. I don't dislike the genre, I'm just not familiar with it or it's artists. With that said, I'm very happy I bought this album. It is full of heart, soul, and emotion. The opening song "Sigh No More" just really blew me away when I first played it. For one I wasn't expecting the folksy music and I definitely wasn't expecting the warmth and humanity coming through my headphones. Overall, the whole album is just fantastic, a very talented group.
Now moving on to the main reason for buying the special edition, the live CD. My personal favorite live album is DC Talk's "The Freak Show". The live version of those song recordings are actually better than the studio versions because of the energy. It is my measuring stick for live albums. In this case, the live version of Sigh No More is as good as the studio, but not better. That's not a slight to the band though because as I previously said, the studio album is fantastic from start to finish. This band plays amazingly well live and the vocals are just incredible. In an age where artists can put out good sounding cds and move on to put poor live vocal performances, Mumford & Sons stand out. They are that rare group that could live on as musicians in any age because they don't need fancy electronic equipment to sound good.
Now to the packaging. At first glance I was super impressed with the packaging. Instead of cheap plastic and cardboard you're greeted with a beautiful green canvas like cloth material with a silhouette of the band embroidered in gold. Then you open the packaging and you have a very nice booklet inside. This is the type of creativity in packaging that we are missing in today's CDs. If the music industry wants to keep selling CD's instead of having people download illegally or off of iTunes, this is what they need to do. When you hold this album in your hands you feel like you just bought something special. It makes collecting CD's just for the packaging worth it, although I stick to CD's for music quality, packaging like this is just more incentive.
Wait... you said one star for the packing, right? Yeah I did. You get three discs with this. The main album, the live cd, and the dvd. The live cd and the dvd come inside thick paper pockets that are attached to the back and front covers of the case. The problem with this is that the discs go in SUPER tight. It's so tight that there is no way to pull the discs out without scratching them. My live album came out with a bunch of scratches on it. I put it back and then decided I'm not going to keep it inside the original case. I instead now keep the live album in a separate plastic case, the dvd I'm not personally concerned with. The main album is okay though. It hangs inside a thick paper sleeve next to the booklet. Since this isn't attached to the covers you can squeeze this paper sleeve on the side and you can then pull the album out very easily without scratching it. The scratches on the live album are light (although there are many) and EAC shows that the disc can be read without any errors but as someone who likes to keep things in pristine condition, it still bugs me. No matter how beautiful the packaging is, if it can't store and protect the goods then you've ultimately failed.
On a bit of a side rant (if someone from the music industry is reading this), I've been noticing that the quality of discs have been in a decline over the last few years. It use to be that I would buy a cd, turn it over, and it was almost always in pristine condition. Now I often see streaks and small cosmetic deficiencies. If you want me to stop buying CD's and move on to iTunes, then you're doing a good job of pushing me in that direction. Maybe the studio's are cutting back on quality control because they want to compete with the iTunes pricing model. The last people buying and supporting the physical music formats are going to be the ones who care most about quality and having a physical collection. If people like me are to stick around with CD's then the quality of the discs and packaging need to be raised, not decreased.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2012
This vinyl is probably one of the best values I've gotten yet! Obviously, if you like Mumford and Sons you are going to like this album (as it has many of their radio hits on it), but for the price, this is great quality, thick vinyl. It sounds incredibly clear and the sound range is impressive. Easily one of the best albums I own on vinyl in terms of quality. I wasn't expecting that at this price.
This would be a great album to benchmark your audio system (or system changes) on.
For comparison, my audio system consists of:
Pioneer VSX-521 receiver (4.0 configuration)
Audio Technica AT-LP120 turntable w/ AT95E cartridge
(4x) paradigm atom v.6 speakers
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2011
After listening to the original CD for months now, I came back to buy the deluxe edition. Mumford's studio recording is great, but they have such a beautiful live energy that it's almost a different album. Well worth the money.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2011
"Sigh No More," performed by Mumford & Sons and produced by Glassnote, combines a new listening experience using an old flavor, creating truly unique sound. One will hear a variety of instruments, such as a banjo or mandolin, among those more commonly used in pop music with appropriate lead vocals and balanced harmonies. "Sigh No More" is a whirlwind of emotions, both musically and lyrically, combined with astounding talents that is seamlessly bound together in the studio with a natural - not overly produced - impression.
I had seen the album cover peppered throughout webpages, so I thought I'd sample the music on Amazon. The small samples left me with an incorrect impression. I wasn't interested, at first; my tastes don't lie within Country music and I have to be in a particular mood for Bluegrass. It wasn't until I heard a catchy song playing on online radio that I became intrigued. After looking to see who was playing, I swallowed my pride and purchased a MP3 version of the release. ...I was never more glad to be wrong! Listening still becomes an adventure with the blend of folk instruments skillfully weaving back and forth between nostalgic and contemporary techniques of playing.
The accompanying lyrics are thoughtful and poetic, easily relatable while using conversational tones and adapting to common modern situations. It becomes like receiving thoughtful life-advice from a old friend. Almost every song seems to have at least one philosophical line of wisdom, but there are songs like "Little Lion Man" where the lesson lies in the overall theme of the song.
The engineering is perfection. In the eerily beautiful "Thistle & Weeds," the music builds and swells perfectly with a strong bottom end that underscores the meaning of the lyrics. In "Timshel," the vocals are exceptionally balanced and placed within the sound field so that each voice is crystal clear while blending fluidly with each other.
This has become one of my favorite releases; I'm only sorry to have waited so long to give it a real chance. If Mumford & Sons' purpose was to combine impressive skills, catchy melodies and irregular instruments to form a unique and innovative sound in popular music, mission accomplished.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
Awesome edition of an already amazing album. Not as good as the UK edition, but smells better! The differences between this one and th UK one are slight- couple of different pictures in the booklet and the covers are different textures. Music is still superb and the vidoeos are stunning. An amazing album from an amazing band. Definitely worth the money.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2011
My kids brought this CD to my attention just before Christmas (2010) and I've been listening to it pretty consistently ever since.
First, don't buy this album if you are looking for the best, new folk release. There is better folk out there and this CD really isn't folk. Folk instruments dominate the songs, but composition (especially percussion) and lyrics are much more European. Think of it as popular music played with folk instruments. To this end I don't think the band has tried to sell themselves as the next best folk group, either.
The lyrics are very epic with mortality and religion as common themes. The content smacks more of medieval "Everyman" tales than modern themes. The music, itself, is catchy and pleasant to listen to. People who are used to bluegrass or folk will find the addition of a full brass section and the heavy drums lacking in the subtlety that they are accustomed to (hence the above warning).
The group has a knack for combining melody and lyrics that makes this a good first outing. They remind me of "The Band" a great deal. I am curious if they will be able to maintain the quality in their next album. With time I think their lyrics will become more subtle and clever as will their composition. Hopefully, M.&Sons will be able to keep the balance as their style matures.
Finally, I see that this CD has garnered some criticism for being "bombastic" and "overblown." Again, subltety is certainly not a trait that I would use to describe this disc. However,the singer IS quite passionate and brings that element into the songs quite well.
Dustbowl Dance - Good build up to a story that could have been part of the Grapes of Wrath. The jam at the very end is a bit disjointed, but the punctuation from the drums to the narrator's angry conclusion is well done.
After the Storm - Probably the best example of the Everyman theme I mention above. It's a melodic focus on the helplessness of mortality. The singer's remorse is convincing and this song makes a good "last song" for the album.
edit - made a few grammatical changes, corrected a typo
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2010
...albums I've heard in a long time. Mumford & his "Sons" really know what they're doing. I love the recent trend towards folk oriented sounds and most of the bands involved are among my favorites. I took a listen to this band and found a sound that has a little more gruffness to it and that brings to mind the old Clancy Brothers Drinking-songs/Sea Chantys/Songs of Rebellion kind of feel. It's not at all hard to imagine the boys tearing it up in a village pub in some northern town. I can't explain how, but something about them reminds me of The Band, don't ask me why, not specifically the music,but the heart that they put into it. This is well worth having, and I recommend it highly.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2011
...because he wrote more than a little of it. Five lines from the title song, and the title, are directly from Much Ado About Nothing, including "Serve God, love me and mend" "Live unbruised, we are friends" "One foot in sea and one on shore" and "But man is a giddy thing". And also in "Roll Away Your Stone" the line from Macbeth is "Stars hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires." And that's just what I noticed on a quick first listen, which makes me wonder what else is there, and from whom. Not that I don't like this CD; I do, very much. And I fully understand the use of literary allusion, even quoting. I'm just saying it, because I read all of these reviews, and no one else is - although someone thought maybe Shakespeare was an influence. Ya think?