BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More (Universal)

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Mumford and Sons: Thistle and Weeds
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More (Universal)

This four-piece from London may have a banjo on hand and a similar way with an archaic lyric and alt.folk melody as Fleet Foxes, but here on their debut album with widescreen producer Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire's Neon Bible) they bring some dramatic urgency which kicks them clearly into the alt.rock territory.

With songs which have a sharp sense of dynamics – a rush of blood and surging guitars, cut back to solo vocal – and lyrics which grab immediately (“I won't let you choke on the noose around your neck”) this is a mighty impressive outing.

Certainly they retain a folk quality (Winter Winds with its Celtic sway, the knees-up of Roll Away Your Stone) and at times they can recall the Pogues without quite the ramshackle anarchic quality – so you can understand why influential British radio people like Zane Lowe have acclaimed them, Lowe calling the self-flagellating Little Lion Man “the hottest record in the world today”.

There are also close harmony ballads here – the lovely, supportive Timshel which you might want at your funeral – so the more epic songs (the oceanic Thistle and Weeds) are leavened by these quieter, more reflective moments.

This is intelligent, sometimes almost intellectual, music which comes with a kick and bite.

A rare one.

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