March 5, 2011

Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More

March 5, 2011  

I know their debut album, Sigh No More, came out in October 2009, but I only recently discovered them thanks to a small blurb in a January or February 2011 issue of Entertainment Weekly.  I don't often agree with others' opinions on music and so I had low expectations.  Rarely do I hear a song by a new artist that leaves me with such certainty that they will be a new favorite, like Rammstein, Meat Loaf, Disturbed, and a few others previously.  And it's even rarer that I'm right about that certainty, because so many albums have only one or two good songs; not even great, just good.  It turns out that there is not a wasted second on this album; all songs are gorgeously and lovingly crafted.

I'm usually one to shy away from anything with a banjo, just like bagpipes, "the missing link between noise and sound" (Danny Bhoy).  Though, in the hands of talent even a banjo can become lovely, compelling, and essential.  "Love, it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you; it will set you free" is one of the most beautiful, lyrical lines I've ever heard, and the music is so joyful and stirring that I listened to the title track probably 30 times in 3 days.  Not all the songs are happy - why should they be? - but every one has at least one perfect moment of brilliance.  This is the first on faith purchase I've made in quite a while and I'll definitely do the same with their next effort.  I just hope it can live up to the majesty that they've created here.

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