Mumford and Sons make the type of life-affirming, melancholy tracks that are tough to listen to without getting the chills. Just try to get past the 16 second mark of “Little Lion Man” without its first lush banjo chord making your heart sink a notch. Try hitting 1:32 of “White Blank Page” without feeling a surge of emotion, without feeling absolutely overpowered and overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the music.
The best part of Mumford and Sons’ tunes, however, is that as overpowering as they may be, they are all equally low-key and simplistic. Songs are relatively quiet, mostly driven by guitar, banjo, and vocals, with barely any thundering percussion, newfangled beats, or unnecessary handclaps. No, Mumford’s music is undeniably pure, and that’s what makes it so good. All sounds song as if they are being played live in your bedroom, and lead singer Marcus Mumford has the ability (similar to Charlie Fink of Noah and the Whale) to make each lyric, each moment, a punch to the gut or a tug at the heartstrings.
While “White Blank Page” is surely Mumford and Sons’ best-crafted song and “Little Lion Man” the clear fan favorite, my personal favorite is “Winter Winds,” a gem off of their debut album, Sigh No More. “Winds” kicks off with a flourish of horns out of Beirut’s playbook, and doesn’t let up from there, with a powerful, sing-along chorus not catchy in the traditional sense, but memorable nonetheless. Sigh No More comes out here in the states on February 16th. Listen to our favorite tracks below: