Although the video (directed by one of my favourite actors, Idris Elba) is, well… a tad confusing, it’s undeniably one of the most beautiful strange things I’ve ever seen. And Elba is absolutely unforgettable in it.
Conveying this absolute sense of loss, and then undeniable, unfettered joy, it’s simply spell-binding. I think this video will tell a different story to everyone who watches it… but to me, the sheer fearlessness of it all is just absolutely crushing.
Since pretty much the release of their debut album, we’ve all been waiting with bated breath for Mumford and Sons‘ sophomore release. The band has teased us by road-testing quite a few of the rumoured new tunes while on tour; most recently, we wrote about “Home” here.
They’ve now debuted possibly my favourite of the lot, live on Philadelphia’s Radio 104.5 on Saturday. Marcus calls it “Ghosts That We Knew,” while Ben calls it just “Ghosts.” Whatever the title, I can tell you that it’s simply beautiful. Listen below.
So, I’ve held off on posting about this album for a while… when I first heard Mumford and Sons, there was this crazy rush of excitement (“thank god, finally a 2009 sound worth raving about!”) that I thought might colour an album review. So I’ve purposefully sat with this album now for the past week, holding off on posting so that I would have enough time to let it sink in.
And yes, I’m still going to rave about it.
“Sigh No More” is exactly the kind of album that Mumford and Sons needed to make. Although the album contains quite a few songs that have appeared on their past two EPs, the production has afforded them a level of… well, grandiosity that their previous releases kept hidden. Just take a listen to the opening few tracks, particularly “The Cave”, with its awesome horn section, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
For those who haven’t heard the band before, the sound is predominantly a mixture of bluegrass, country, folk, and freakin’ awesomeness. There’s a term I hesitate to use too much on this blog, and that’s the description “soaring”. But soaring this album is, and you’d be hard pressed not to imagine choirs of voices joining in with most of these refrains at a live performance by the band.
Which is not to say the album is perfect, by any means. It’s clear the band is still coming into its own, and there are one or two missteps… both “Timshel” and “Thistle and Weeds”, for example, fall somewhat short of the rest of the album for me. But, for the most part, you can overlook these missteps purely for the potential and passion that the band show, even if they do somewhat overshoot themselves sometimes. And, putting myself out there, overall I’d call this one of my favourite albums of 2009… top 3 at least.
Below, two tracks of the “Sigh No More” album. The first, “White Blank Page“, is an example of the emotion Marcus Mumford’s voice can convey (and has been featured on this blog before), and the second, “Dust Bowl Dance“, is a banjo-led slow burner that somewhere along the way – although you might not notice it until it is too late – morphs into all-out destruction. Sheer beauty.
I don’t quite know how I’ve let this go until now without a post. Mumford and Sons was a band I’d heard mentioned in quite a few places online, but for some reason I’d never bothered to track down much of their stuff. That was, at least, until Song, By Toad (easily one of my favourite music blogs) featured a fantastic video of the group performing their killer track, “White Blank Page”. The video is, quite frankly, sublime, and I’ll simply point you towards the Toad site to watch it there.
After that, I did a bit more digging myself, and found that the band has recently released the official video for their debut single, “Little Lion Man”… and I’ve fallen in love with it.
Both tracks appear on Mumford and Sons upcoming debut album, “Sigh No More”, which I believe drops tomorrow, coincidentally enough. I know what my next purchase will be…
Below, a “live on BBC1” version of them performing “White Blank Page”.
Can you lie next to her and give her your heart, your heart?
As well as your body, and can you lie next to her and confess your love, your love?
As well as your folly and can you kneel before the king and say ‘I’m clean’, ‘I’m clean’?
– Mumford and Sons, “White Blank Page”