Mumford & Sons, Wilder Mind as reviewed in The Phantom Tollbooth In Wilder Mind, Mumford & Sons ratchet up energy and emotion in vocals and music nearly matchless among their peers.

Wilder Mind (Deluxe Edition)
Artist: Mumford & Sons
Label: Glassnote
Release Date: May 4, 2015
Duration: 16 tracks, 24:48

The early rumor mill had Wilder Mind, the third full LP by Mumford & Sons, as an ‘electric’ album, not acoustic-based as their first offerings were. Surprised and disappointed, many fans turned away from early / pre-purchase promoted by these same rumors. But, like many fans, I fell to curiosity and gladly so.

Wilder Mind has all the hallmarks of earlier Mumford & Sons releases. Emotionally shearing with Marcus Mumford’s vocals ranging from extreme sadness to harsh anger, musically escalating emotions from calm to chaos. The simple, true prose of human experience is again intact, along with exciting experimentation and growth as artists.

When listening very closely to the album there is continuity in story and sound from “Tompkins Square Park” to “Believe” to “The Wolf”. The change in lyric tempo during the refrain sets “Tompkins Square Park” solely on its own to gather your attention. “Believe” follows, continuing the emotion of its predecessor. If you’ve ever experienced a relationship falling apart, this song writes your story. Slow and growing with great underlying strings, building with strong lead guitar accentuating the song’s emotion:

Say something, say something,
Something like you love me
Less you wanna move away
From the noise of this place

I don't even know if I believe
Everything you're trying to say to me

So open up my eyes
Tell me I'm alive
This is never gonna go our way
If I'm gonna have to guess what's on your mind

Changing the pace, fast and big, “The Wolf” ‘continues’ the story line with lyrics:

Been wondering for days
How you felt me slip your mind
Leave behind your wanton ways
I want to learn to love in kind
'Cause you were all I ever longed for

Another story of love’s painful journey begins with “Monster”, a mellow, smooth ballad both meaningful and true of a heart’s great pain. The model of Mumford’s emotionally-laced prose is found in “Snake Eyes’ telling of a dangerous relationship building slowly to a pure high octane charge. “Broad-Shouldered Beasts” follows passionately sounding of a perfect soundtrack. “Ditmas” is a prime example of how Mumford uses a powerful refrain to accentuate a story line.

The deluxe edition includes live versions of Wilder Mind’s first three songs from the album in a live (and believe me this is LIVE) version followed a version of “Snake Eyes”. For ardent Mumford fans, these four live versions are well worth the extra coin.

With Wilder Mind, Mumford & Sons has solidified its position as a leading force in modern music by continuing to grow emotionally and musically. Their alt-rock, folk-rock sound has galvanized as part of today’s music culture while their stories of love and love lost are the stories of humankind. In Wilder Mind, Mumford & Sons ratchet up energy and emotion in vocals and music nearly matchless among their peers.


Scott S Mertens