Have you ever sat and thought “wow, that was an intense and moving Banjo solo”?
No? Neither have I. Until recently…
Enter Mumford and Sons, folk finesse from the UK. Now I know what you’re thinking: folk is for post hippies in the 60s… people too afraid to wear flares and dump heaps of acid. And you’re probably right. But Sigh No More, the debut album from Mr Mumford and co, will challenge that perception. No longer will you think of turtle necks, parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme when the thought of Folk Music rolls around your head.
If you frequent Triple J you will have probably heard “Little Lion Man”. It’s catchy, explodes from the onset and introduces banjo like I’ve never heard before. My experience with Banjo music has been limited to duelling banjos and the episode of Family guys where they move to the country. So it’s been fun hearing it feature strongly throughout this album.
Lead singer Marcus Mumford is definitely partial to taking the listener on an aural journey, and this becomes clear from the onset. Sigh No More, the title track of the album, is soft and organic to begin. It then begins to flourish introducing horns and of course the sweet Banjo. I swear to God, Winston Marshal (Banjo player and guy with a pretty sweet name) must have an electric hand. He shreds chords like it’s no one’s business. Which leads me to the following conclusion: fuck The Edge from U2, he hasn’t got shit on Winston Marshal.
The album has a little bit of everything; it gets dark and gloomy with songs such as White Blank Page and takes flight with one of my favourites “Awake My Soul”. What’s consistent throughout is that most tracks start off low key and then gain momentum, finishing with a crescendo of sound that could quiet literally get you out of your seat.
Truthfully, this album won’t be for everyone. If you like Noah and the Whale, Laura Marling and perhaps even The Dodos then you will enjoy Sigh No More. But if you think that music is more about “disco sticks” and “supermanning hoes” then you should probably steer clear.
I’m off to buy a Banjo.