Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons (2009)

Verdict – 5.3


The debut album by English folk rock band Mumford & Sons achieved a great deal of commercial success, playing a heavy role in the beginning of the new found mainstream acceptance for folk music. Start off by pointing out, this isn’t a bad album, it just isn’t good either. There is no doubt they have a knack for building a song to a hectic, all instruments-ablaze (overblown at times) ending, carried by the passionate vocals of lead singer Marcus Mumford, however hearing the repeated formula and pattern in almost every song on the album gets tiring, and in some cases, quite irritating (the breakdown on the terribly bland Roll Away Your Stone).

The opener is the album’s best track (maybe because it is the opener and we have yet to tire of the sound), building up with hymn-like verses before Mumford rallies us that, “Love will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free.” The lead single and surprisingly incredibly successful, Little Lion Man, is the only other track that shows any distinction, and in a very religiously themed album, the line, “I really fucked it up this time”, seems rather out of place, which probably makes it all the more memorable.

We reach Roll Away Your Stone, which opens with a riff sounding very out of place (and reminiscent of a much more able folk band, the Fleet Foxes), offering a nice change in pace before the usual banjos, drums, guitars and vocals collide yet again, reminding us that this is indeed still the same album. Dust Bowl Dance is another poorly executed song, attempting a dark, gothic vibe, with Mumford displaying his growl to ill effect, and makes the song feel entirely over-dramatic before the loudest, most disruptive closing of the record.

In comparison against a band such as Fleet Foxes, it’s clear the musical capability of Mumford & Sons is lacking, however, they’ve accumulated a strong base who do find the band so compelling. I do praise the success the band has now found, and hope they and other folk bands continue to do so in the future, hopefully making the generally under-appreciated genre more accessible, in-turn paving the way for new bands to enter the fray. In comparison to the general mainstream field, yeah, Sigh No More is pretty decent, but amongst the true artists and rival folk artists, the album lacks in almost all departments.

‘Better than Average’ Songs – Sigh No More, Little Lion Man


4 thoughts on “Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons (2009)

    • Pop-indie? There is a definite almost-Celtic folk vibe in numerous songs, though I do agree they can easily be classified as pop too. I agree, I said in comparison to that field, the album is pretty decent, just when you compare their attempts at harmonies and instrumentals to someone like the Fleet Foxes. Anything above 5 is above average.

  1. Haha I love the banjo actually, besides for on Roll Away Your Stone, only song on the album I really dislike. I can see why people like them, as with new, similar bands like The Lumineers who are finding some commercial success at the moment, the music is very catchy and likeable. By the way, very happy to see your top 10 list included Lonerism! I’m still pondering mine, but Lonerism is very likely to feature.

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