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  • Babel
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Babel
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Like the other glowing reviews, I believe this is a worthy and remarkable second effort by the Brit folk band that blew my mind with their first album, Sigh No More. I purchased the deluxe version and am glad I did, the bonus tracks Where are you now and For those below are great, even The boxer cover was a pleasure. There are rousing anthems with the wall of acoustic guitar sound with Marcus Mumford's relentless strumming, as on SNM, (Babel and I will wait, Not with haste, Whispers in the Dark) and the swelling of the harmonies of the band's voices together still come across in many songs, incl. Hopeless Wanderer and Where are you now. There isn't a bad let-down or filler song among these.

The difference I notice is that there are more contemplative tracks, with even simpler instrumentation. They are less anthemic and more personal with very evocative lyrics (Below my feet, For those below, Ghosts that we knew, Holland Road). I will say the tempo of these songs feel leisurely, but never slow or dull. I'm glad the band is evolving. Artists need to stretch.

I appreciate the change in mood and the greater intimacy of these songs. I can appreciate Mumford's voice and their harmonies all the more. The songs still offer fresh lyrics, few cliches and some breathtaking word pictures/stories.
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on January 14, 2016
Mumford & Sons=great album. Marcus Mumford=where do I begin? He has the most interesting voice I have heard in a long time, sort of a cross between John Hiatt and John Fogerty and then something uniquely his as well. "The Boxer"-a bonus track, was so beautiful I was literally fighting back tears. I have never heard someone who could sound so forlorn. It's completely recognizable as the Simon & Garfunkel standard but Marcus adds a slight tweak to the melody line that makes it fresh and new . Add a powerhouse chorus with a staggered rhythm the second time around and searing instrumental soloes and this song has been reinvented!
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on March 23, 2013
The Grammy academy definitely got this one right (as they did a few years ago with giving the same award to Arcade Fire). The elements and approach M & S use isn't hugely innovative or complex. But the way they mash brilliant writing, wonderful subject matter, anthemic choruses, roots-inspired instrumentation, and unbelievable emotion---there just isn't anything out there quite like 'em.

But it's not for a lack of trying. There have been numerous acts (an American idol and a band referencing monsters, to name two) that sound pretty good, but this is the real thing. The ambition and emotion separate them from similar acts. I didn't think it was possible that they could top Sigh No More, but I believe they proved me wrong. And in the process, further proved that the term "sophomore slump" doesn't apply to this band.
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on December 2, 2013
My wife and I were really excited to hear this new CD from Mumford & Sons since their first CD just blew us away. I'm a musician in a street folk band (Don't Forget Your Shoes), and so I know how hard it is to write music and keep high standards. But this CD feels like it was just churned out to meet a record company deadline, and it lacks the innovative instrumentation and lyrics that so captivated us with Mumford & Sons first album. All the tracks are very similar sounding and are hard to differentiate with a few exceptions... Hopefully they'll be able to mix it up for future albums-- we are still fans of this band, even if we felt disappointed by this CD.
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After five spins, I've gone through a journey with Babel. "Sigh No More" was so utterly stunning that by the second CD, the formula becomes more familiar. However, this set also offers its share of gems. "I Will Wait" delights with its confident promise of romantic loyalty, "Raise my hands, paint my spirit gold, bow my head, keep my heart slow." "Hopeless Wanderer" is another gem that starts soft and bursts into a pounding anthem about two minutes into the track, "So when your hope's on fire, but you know your desire, don't hold a glass over the flame; Don't let your heart grow cold; I will call you by name; I will share your road." On this deluxe edition, the Sons' version of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer" fits their style like a glove on the "lye la lye" chorus. "Babel," while not as strong as the amazing first CD, is still well worth discovering. Enjoy!
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Love Mumford & Sons - you have to love the driving music and the accents and the rough and tumble poetry that they put into song. I'm a fan and always will be. I am really enjoying the album, though as with most CDs, there are a few songs I could take or leave. If you're a M&S fan, this will not disappoint you.
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on September 28, 2012
Not meaning to make this sound overly scientific (mainly because it is art), it is worth noting how these guys have found a special magic within their sound together. As the follow up to the 2009 album, Babel does a lot to impress the listener.

Energy; both vibrant and subtle -

Mumford & Sons has took the world by storm using their raw mixture of acoustic melody, percussion, and that catchy little banjo to compliment the ensemble. Complimentary vocal harmonies just serve as added measure, just in case you had not been won over yet. What sets Babel apart is the freedom from the market expectation of ALL adrenaline in every arrangement. The band allows themselves to go quiet at times to paint a picture that is in compliment to what Mumford & Sons has created since their early formation.

Something old, something new, and ultimately something comfortable -

This album feels familiar, but it allows us to visit some new places as well. Feed the base, and expand; that's what has been done here. The word disenfranchise just doesn't become an issue when listening(important part of the formula). Instead, we see an added dimension to the painting and expansion to its frame.

This is a live touring band capturing a set of moments in a studio. These songs will play well on the road and individually to listeners. Well done, gentlemen!
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on February 8, 2013
I love this album. At first I was a little hesitant because the tone, while true Mumford, felt so different from the first album. After about 20 listens though I realized the genius of the lyrics and the musicality. I still think I prefer the first album if I could only choose one, but this does not fail to disappoint. I've seen too many reviews saying how this album is exactly like the first...that could not be further from the truth. As someone who has listened to each well over 100 times, that is just false. I would recommend this band AND this album to anyone who has heard a song of theirs and enjoyed it. Worth every minute of your time. Also, I would say it is worth it to purchase the deluxe edition with the 3 bonus tracks. My least favorite on the album was The Boxer, but my favorite was probably Where Are You Now. Even if it isn't a favorite of yours I think that song alone is worth the extra money! Help support a great band. BUY THIS!
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on August 12, 2017
Like my other review of this band-I can't listen to them ALL the time-but they are a fun romp when I am ready and always have rollicking tunes and lyrics.
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on May 19, 2014
The band follows Sigh no More with a album that is even larger in sound than the first, a feat I thought impossible. Love that Jerry Douglas makes an appearance (He makes anything better). Again, I consider this band to be Bluegrass, but everyone else considers them rock. Either way, the record is amazing, and it has constant play on my ipod.
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