First let me introduce myself to Music Is Art. I will be on a weekly basis, featuring the best of British music. The vision I’ve got for this column is not just direct music review, more so I will be incorporating a column-esque style to it all. So, with my self-indulgent introduction over, let’s move on to the first feature in Thoughts for Tonight.
In September last year I moved to London. After a dull August, September was peaking up and I was about to make my first venture out to ‘Blue Flowers’. ‘Blue Flowers’ was a monthly event held in Chiswick, London. It was set alongside West London diners and higher-end supermarkets. The clientele, as a result, was often rather different from those usually frequenting the up-and-coming London music scene of the East. Yet when it came down to musical showcases there was no room for snobbishness amongst the East-London musical elite. It was here, I first saw the inspiring Mumford & Sons.
Mumford & Sons, started off life in West London; writing, rehearsing and performing in the pubs and streets of Chelsea. Last year they released the first in what has become a trilogy of releases; ‘Lend Me Your Ears’. The E.P. debuted the band’s signature sound; that of wonderfully quaint British, bluegrass-inspired folk. Their second E.P. released in Autumn last year followed suit; melting the hearts of teenage girls, while inspiring men everywhere with self-deprecating honesty, that seemed to win over the aforementioned hearts. Effortlessly stylish in both appearance and attitude, Mumford & Sons ended 2008 on a high that any performers should be proud of.
‘The Cave and the Open Sea’ is the final installment in the previously mentioned trilogy, and the first in 2009. The Mumford & Sons sound is undeniably still here; their wonderful interlacing of instrumentation, dynamic verse and chorus structures and memorable melodies feature prominently, but a subtle and charming progression has been made.
In the band’s progression comes refined yet still captivating lyricism, the warmth and glow of Marcus Mumford’s voice is more refined and confident. The band’s ability to bring-to-life a folk melody, that other bands could only attempt, is still prominent.
Everything has matured, and if that is misunderstood to be synonymous with ‘mellowed’, then ‘But My Heart Told My Head’ should dispel such skepticism instantly. The maturity comes from growth within their sound; showing further influences away from bluegrass and folk. Their confidence has grown as a band, which has continued from E.P. to E.P., and as a result the new recorded songs brim with endearing charm and warmth.
Last year, I was working in a summer job that played Radio 1 relentlessly. The pop mix was usually poor, but Noah and the Whale really provided a well-rounded summery alternative. This year, Mumford and Sons are capable of achieving something in a similar vein; a perfect, summer, folk-pop soundtrack, yet where differences lie, is the band’s ability to do that little bit more as well.