At last, Mumford & Sons is back to make more things that loyal Starbucks customers like. But it sounds like they may be coming back to do something that may or may not please loyal fans.
The band has announced a date and title for their new album, Wilder Mind, which is set to be released May 4. I'll be honest in saying that I didn't understand the move when the group went on hiatus in 2013. At the top of their game with two albums that not only topped the charts, but also challenged the pallets of pop-music listeners, it seemed like the logical next step was to keep making music. And yet, the quartet decided to take a break. It's like getting the golden ticket and deciding to throw it away.
They left as arguably the biggest band in rock music. And also as the fastest growing in popularity, rising to that status within merely a few years and two albums.
When the band left, they did so after producing a refreshing twist for music listeners with folk rock, a genre they brought popularity back to. This time around, however, the band is planning to use a more "electric" style, introducing more synthesizers and guitars than banjos.The reason stated by the band in multiple interviews being that they couldn't go back to doing the same old sound for yet another album.
I am both excited and intrigued, because one thing that is certain is that there is a lot of talent within that band. And if they can make folk-rock cool again, it seems the odds are in their favor when it comes to trying something different.
The truth of the matter, however, is that the whole thing could either continue to skyrocket them or lower their fanbase, and likewise their notoriety.
If the change goes well for the band, I believe we will see — for the first time in a long time — a band that reaches the global popularity that 60's rock bands did (or at least relatively close). Which is something to be said for a band in a culture where non-band produced material has consistently shown to be highly favored by top-40 radio.
Another possible positive outcome this step could bring is a conversion of Mumford haters into Mumford believers. One comment constantly associated with the band's music is that it is too similar throughout all songs and too silly and whimsical lyrically. Maybe a change in sound is what people need to realize the band is actually multi-talented.
Just look at the projects Marcus Mumford has been involved in during the band's down time. The man has musical chops but maybe people need to see that talent can be recreated within his group.
There's always the chance they could, in their own words, really fuck it up this time. Too often bands that try to break into something else have trouble because they are too good at doing what is signature to them. Take John Mayer for example. As a musician, when he made the change from bluesy to folky, many, myself included, just could not break the mental conception they had of him as a blues-rock musician.
That said, I believe that Mumford will have more of a transitional experience, the likes of Coldplay, in that switching up their sound will cause them to rise to even greater heights. Time will tell. In the meantime, I will be obsessively looking for when a song from the new album becomes available.
And yes, I do have a Starbucks gold card.