Thursday, 17 December 2009

Mumford & Son, Sigh No More (2009)

Pretty plucking good.

Note: ‘Man is a giddy thing’. I take this assertion, which is repeated several times in the first song, to be a deliberate gloss ironizing the many frankly wrongheaded assertions that follow—‘love will set you free’; ‘I’ll find strength in pain’—not to mention all the grandiose posturing (‘stars hide your fires/these are my desires’, ‘awake my soul!’). Too much of that can easily turn an album into sentimental mush, you know, no matter how cleverly pluck-played the guitars, how effortlessly the rhythm-section drives, how creaky-tuneful the vocalist’s pipes. Sigh No More stays on the windy side of the divide, I’d say; but it’s a close call.


Wally said...

I play these fellas' "Little Lion Man" to get myself psyched up for small but soul-deadening activities like going to the supermarket or talking to rich people. And now, emboldened by your 'plucking good' assessment, I will track down this album. Wary of the mush, grateful for the wind. And so forth.

Happy holidays sir!

Dan said...

We concur, I think: there's a real tendency towards schmaltz on show throughout this record (all those predictably swelling choirs) which is quite at odds with its grainy pretensions; but also an arch awareness of that, which doesn't quite make the album into the authentic statement it wants to be but does at least render it respectable.

Finger-picking good.

Adam Roberts said...

Tch! There we were, happily concurring ... and then you have to ruin the concurrence by besting my one-liner. 'Finger-picking good' is better, yes.

danhartland said...

No post-pipping meant, sir - that one's pulled out at every jam session in the land every single night of the week. Ribald lot, you know, those folkies.