So a few months ago, one of my favorite bands – Mumford & Sons – released a new album after breaking up for a few years (which was devastating, let me tell you). I just got around to listening to Wilder Mind through and through, from the first track to the last. And I love it. The sound and tone are slightly different than those of the band’s previous works – a little less folksy, with a sort of “movie score” undercurrent to the rhythms. Also, there are fewer, if any, really intense songs on the album. There’s nothing like Broken Crown from Babel, nor any crazy, fast-paced, cheery hits like I Will Wait or Hopeless Wanderer. Though the first two singles that released, Believe and The Wolf, have loud moments, the biggest difference between this album and the band’s previous ones is that the banjo is muted, less noticeable, not emphasized. It doesn’t get as many solo moments as it used to, and coupled with other musical and artistic adjustments, this noticeably changes the sound of the album. Wilder Mind is a toned down, softer, and subtler version of Mumford & Sons’ traditional sound. It’s melancholy and humming and somehow still hopeful. And every song is more poignant because of it.
Don’t let its mellower tunes fool you, however: this album is a hit. I adore it for its cohesiveness, with some songs like Tompkins Square Park and Believe actually leading into each other when you listen to the album in order. I love the quieter feeling and passion that underlies tracks like Broad-Shouldered Beasts and Wilder Mind, the tenderness of Cold Arms, and the lovesick chants of Just Smoke. My favorite track on the whole album is probably one of the most haunting and underrated in my eyes: Tompkins Square Park. I also adore Monster and Snake Eyes – they’re slower and darker and just wonderful. The four bonus tracks on the deluxe version of the album are live versions of four of the album’s songs: Tompkins Square Park, Believe, The Wolf, and Snake Eyes. The live versions are lovely and sound just as good as the studio versions, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks, skip them and just buy the regular album.
Believe and The Wolf were my anthems in the spring. But even though the album released in May, I think it is the perfect soundtrack for fall. To me, it just has a fall feel to it. Every new school year when fall rolls around, I find a new album to play on repeat and it becomes my mantra, the piece that can always bring me back to where I was, what I was doing, who was I with during the months I absorbed it into my body and mind. I have a funny feeling that Wilder Mind is going to be that for me this fall, the start of my senior year in high school. My last year here. I love listening to this masterpiece while driving to school in the dark, early morning before the sun creeps up and after swim practice on the way home as I’m racing the sun across the sky. I love, love, love it and the mood it puts me in, one of tranquility and assuredness.
So to any Mumford & Sons fans out there, give Wilder Mind a go with an open mind and I think you’ll be able to see a goodness in the slight change from the sound we all so loved. And to anyone who hasn’t yet fallen into this band’s folksy alternative British music – well what are you waiting for?
Thanks for reading,