The new issue of NME (on sale July 25) features some tantalising info about Mumford And Sons’ new album ‘Babel’, out September 24. For clues at to what to expect, here’s a round-up of some of the new songs they’ve been playing live lately.
Where Are You Now?
The one brand spanking new Mumford track is a slow-burner. A reflection on love, loss and half-hearted stalking, ‘Where Are You Now?’ is perked up by gorgeous country harmonies and a cautious gathering of acoustic guitar, banjo and keyboards, swelling into an anthem of regret at what might have been. “Do you ever think of me, in the quiet, in the crowd?”
‘Ghosts We Knew’ has been knocking about since last autumn, balancing the tough times with hints of hope – “The ghosts that we knew will flicker from view/And we’ll live a long life”. Winston Marshall supplies some blissed-out banjo – if banjo can ever be “blissed-out” – and Marcus Mumford’s voice cracks in a rough, heartstrung final chorus.
They’ve been airing this one here and there for the last year, finding some intense ground between the raspy country-blues of The Cave Singers and the Eno-produced era of baggy-folk maniacs James. You’ve got to wonder why that recipe for success hasn’t been cooked up more often. Rhythm guitar nips and tumbles and Marcus is up to his moustache in “quiet rage” and “the curse of my lover’s eyes”.
Yet to be released after a couple of years in the live set, ‘Lover Of The Light’ works up from teasing power chords to rattling Coldplay guitar to a riotous shouty finish of horns and piano glissandos that sounds like Van Morrison when he wasn’t carrying quite so much baggage.
Finally, this one’s for the soundtrack of Big Easy Express but may get a guest spot on a second album. It’s a sweet ditty about meeting the old maker and was written with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show during the filming of the movie, which follows the bands on their 2011 Railroad Revival Tour. They all joined forces for an acoustic performance at SXSW.