Contemporary music doesn’t get the credit it deserves in modern culture. Thus, in our new series #Classic #Albums, we will give these records the respect they deserve. Today, we’re reviewing Babel by Mumford & Sons.
Hey, man, I take it all back! This is one fucking heavyweight of an album! OK — I’ll concede that until you’ve listened to the album eight hundred times, as I have, it seems as if it’s just one especially heavy song extended over the space of two whole sides. But, hey! you’ve got to admit that Mumford and Sons have their distinctive and enchanting formula down stone-cold, man. Like you get the impression they could do it in their sleep.
And who can deny that Marcus Mumford is the absolute number-one heaviest white blues guitarist between 5’4″ and 5’8″ in the world?? Shit, man, on this album he further demonstrates that he could absolutely fucking shut down any whitebluesman alive, and with one fucking hand tied behind his back too.
“Babel,” which opens the album, has to be the heaviest thing I’ve run across (or, more accurately, that’s run across me) since “Sim Sala Bim” on Helplessness Blues. Like I listened to the break (Marcus wrenching some simply indescribable sounds out of his axe while your stereo goes ape-shit) on some heavy Vietnamese weed and very nearly had my mind blown.
Hey, I know what you’re thinking. “That’s not very objective.” But dig: I also listened to it on mescaline, some old Romilar, novocain, and ground up Fusion, and it was just as mind-boggling as before. I must admit I haven’t listened to it straight yet — I don’t think a group this heavy is best enjoyed that way.
Anyhow . . . Winston Marshall, who is rumored to sing some notes on this record that only dogs can hear, demonstrates his heaviness on “Whispers in the Dark.” When he yells “I’d set out to serve the Lord,” you can’t help but flash on the fact that the Lord is a cleverly-disguised phallic metaphor. Cunning Win, sticking all this eroticism in between the lines just like his blues-beltin’ ancestors! And then (then) there’s “Hopeless Wanderer,” which will be for Ted Dwane what “Jade” has been for Sharpe. Ted demonstrates on this track that had he half a mind he could shut down Sharpe even without sticks, as most of his intriguing solo is done with bare hands.
The album ends with a far-out blues number called “Not With Haste,” during which Marcus contributes some very convincing moaning and harp-playing, and sings “This ain’t no sham / I am what I am.” Who said that white men couldn’t sing blues? I mean, like, who?