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Mumford & Sons

Wilder Mind


May 14, 2015 Mumford & Sons Bookmark and Share

Sometimes, different is good. Other times, it’s bad. In the case of Wilder Mind, Mumford & Sons’ latest album, different is drastic. The band took a very public hiatus in late 2013, which finally concluded earlier this year. Though out of the spotlight for most of the interim months, the quartet did not remain inactive. Rather, Marcus Mumford, Winston Marshall, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane used the time to reinvent their sound. The resultWilder Mindwill come as a shock to anyone who hadn’t been listening to the chatter and the rumors, or to “Believe” and “The Wolf,” two singles released in advance of the album.

Gone are the banjo and a handful of other acoustic instruments that had been integral to and perhaps definitive of Mumford & Sons’ previous sound. Gone, too, is producer Markus Dravs, who had produced both of Mumford’s earlier, award-winning albums. In his place is James Ford, who helped the group usher in a new (to them), heavily electric sound. Electric guitar replaces the banjo, and a full drumkit takes over for the kick drum on Wilder Mind. The album, especially upon first listen, seems such an extreme deviation from all that had been idiosyncratic to Mumford & Sons that some fans might drop the group now, or if this new direction persists. Marcus Mumford has directly acknowledged and accepted the possibility in interviews. In relatively little time over their short discography, Mumford & Sons has proved a dynamic, invigorating band with an exhilarating, indelible, and moving auditory aesthetic. With Wilder Mind, they eschew their recognizable sound, supplanting it with a less memorable collection of songs more readily relegated to background music than either of their previous albums. As big and perhaps unanticipated an adjustment as it is, however, Wilder Mind then deepens and improves with each consecutive listen, proving that if any group could successfully reinvent itself and retain its fan base, it’s Mumford & Sons. (

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Frank King
May 14th 2015

Mumford & Son leader Marcus Mumford dropped some fascinating quotes in a Rolling Stone magazine interview. They inspired me to write this essay: