Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mum is the Word

"Love was kind for a time, now it just aches and makes me blind. This mirrors haunts, by eyes too bright/ That I can't see the others in my life / Were we too young?/ Heads too strong?/ To bear the weight of these lovers eyes / Because I feel numb beneath her tongue.../ Do not ask the price I pay for I must live with my quiet rage/ Tame the ghosts in my head that run wild and wish me dead/ Should you shake my ash to the wind/ Lord, forget all my sins." 

Poetry or pop? That is the question. Both? Most definitely the answer. One of my favourite developments of 2010 was to see the Mumford and Sons contemporary folk epidemic that swept the globe; a worldwide appreciation of breathtakingly wise lyricists and collectively ingenious instrumentalists. Londoners Mumford and Sons debuted their newest dreamy folk track, "Lover's Eyes", at Coachella this month - teasing the crowd with their preview of what promises to be another line-up of indie-folk hits.

This folklore ballad cranks into full gear halfway through with horns, a holler, a stomp and that classic jig speed-up that evokes spine-chilling wonder in listeners everywhere. Heavenly male harmonies and twinkling piano over rapid guitar and booming horns always leave me stunned, wondering how these pretty men are so gifted, so confident - yet so young. The concluding words - "I walk slow, take my hand and help me on my way" - like the end of a film, settle the magical instrumental chaos and lower us back down to earthy ground level.

The magnificent thing about these guys and their timeless folk melodies is that it's a sound unbiased of age, gender or era - the obsession is based on an illimitable appreciation of a voice of someone who's refreshingly awake; singing (or reassuring) about love, little life meaning and the search for a better worldly understanding. The equal parts humility and confidence in Marcus Mumford's voice is something that secures instant platinum sales for the band, and the feeling that the unknowing is a wonderful thing, in us.

The second studio album from Mumford and Sons is in the process of being recorded.


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