I’ve got two new albums playing on repeat right now and I’m pretty stoked on both of them. Here are my thoughts:
Mumford & Sons - Babel
I could not wait for this to come out after hearing them play some of the songs live (mainly just Hopeless Wanderer), so when it did I immediately got it and started playing it non-stop. It does not disappoint by any means. You’ve probably heard a bunch of the songs in their baby forms already, but the album versions are quite a bit different. It’s been neat to see the creative process so obviously and I think it gives the album a bit more of a personal feel; my favourite songs all came with a bit of a built-in relationship even before I had listened to the album versions. That’s cool.
The album as a whole is much darker and more complex than Sigh No More. It also has more spiritual/religious themes running through it, so it feels more personal and yet less raw than M&S’s debut. It’s pretty banjo-heavy, which is awesome, and Marcus holds strong with his vocals. The other band members contribute a bit more vocally, and it really rounds out some of the songs. I honestly have no negative criticisms; as far as albums go, this is pretty much perfect in that it’s so true and really shows us where M&S is as a band.
Favourite song: Hopeless Wanderer, mostly because I identify with the lyrics in a big way.
The xx - Coexist
I was worried about this. The xx’s first album was recorded in the garage of one of the band member’s parents’ house late at night. Those conditions contributed to the subdued elements of their debut and I figured it would be really difficult to recreate those sounds in a genuine way now that the band has “hit it big”. I had no reason to worry.
Coexist is far more refined than XX in a really great way. There are more subtle, heavy beats throughout and stronger harmonizations. The combination is a one-two punch that makes me want to groove out in a big way. Coexist is definitely ready to be played at really hip clubs where cool people gather, but I’m sure many of the songs are also going to be remixed soon. It isn’t just an album to dance to, though, because it tells a pretty complex story of a relationship when you listen to it all the way through. It’s very subtle and clever, which are two trademarks of this band. My only negative criticisms are that the album ends on a weak note and that it could very quickly sound homogeneous. With that said, though, I think astute listeners will always be enjoy the subtle variety offered by the songs.
Favourite song: Sunset, because it’s got a great beat and the vocalization is brilliant.