No.5 Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
Mumford & Sons are on odd bunch – four Londoners in thrall to the banjo-plucking bluegrass of the American South. On paper it shouldn’t work, however upon listening to their debut album Sigh No More, it quickly becomes clear that it does.
Sigh No More ushers the album in with Mumford’s voice unaccompanied except for a lone guitar, before a wall of pianos, banjos and harmonies bring it to a thrilling climax, which is less an introduction, more a mission statement hammered into the listeners’ ears.
The Cave, and recent debut single Little Lion Man offer more of the same, with Marshalls’ banjo propelling the songs forward and Mumfords’ impassioned, heart-on-sleeve vocals tearing through the feast of instrumentation.
That’s not to say that Sigh No More is not home to a few tender moments. In fact, a number of the albums many highlights come when there doesn’t seem to be such a rush to the finish line. Timshel finds Mumford in reflective mood, its poignant closing refrain devastatingly emotional, wrapped up in gorgeous, golden harmonies.
Likewise, album closer After The Storm’s slower tempo showcases Mumfords staggering voice. His ability to turn from breathtaking fragility and delicacy to staggering power within a simple turn of phrase is remarkable, and belies his 22 years.
All in all, Sigh No More is an extraordinary debut. The last of London’s ‘Class of 08/09’ folk debuts is, by a country mile, the best.
Sigh No More (Clip)
After The Storm (Clip)