With their new single “Believe” and, presumably, the album that it foreshadows, Mumford & Sons have moved from the barn into the big city. Unfortunately, that big city was London, and now they sound like Coldplay.
Actually, I take that back, that’s not fair. And not entirely accurate. I just wrote it because the joke was easy.
While the immediate comparison is Coldplay and any number of Coldplay-inspired medium-rock tunes coming out of England over the last decade, subsequent listens actually bring me back around to U2. And while that’s not always a good thing, in this case, it is.
I’ll admit, when I saw that the new track’s title is “Believe,” I assumed it was going to be total shit, because, historically, when a song is called “Believe,” it’s total shit. But this particular “Believe” is, sneakily, a song entirely about self-doubt. And I like that. Well played, boys, well played.
It’s pretty clear that Mumford & Sons has committed wholeheartedly to a new sound — at least for one album — and, just as Wye Oak did last year with “Shriek” (one of my favorite albums of 2014), they are out to prove that their songwriting prowess transcends one specific genre. They’ve gone electric, and when the best songwriters do that, it usually turns out well. And here, we have lyrical tomfoolery and some super-hot guitar lines blasting in like missiles from nowhere. So things should be pretty good with the new sound.
In all honesty, I think their first single from this new album is a little bit boring, but there’s something about it that makes me crave the whole album, whatever that may turn out to be. And with two incredible albums preceding what’s next, they’ve earned a little faith. I remain very, very optimistic about what they have in store.