In early August I had the pleasure of seeing Mumford & Sons play a one-off show in Portland, Maine, and it was a highlight of this past summer — and now I can listen to those new songs whenever I want to. To be honest, I remember the first album not impressing me much because the songs were so similar in sound and structure, so I was hoping for something new this time around. Now on Babel, the boys return with the same instruments and structures, but the songwriting sounds much better than the first time. You can tell these are road songs and the band has had a lot to soak in over the past three years. All of that is on this disc and turned me around a little bit more. The first single, “I Will Wait” has legs for an arena, while a few other tracks — “Babel”, “Below My Feet”, “Lover’s Eyes” and “Reminder” were also solid cuts.
Now we go from minimal production to an album dripping with synthesizers and guitar work that you can feel it ooze out your ears. My spotlight from September, Muse, decided to drop their new one and it moves the conspiracy along. Opening with some solid guitar work the trio of Matt, Dom and Chris waste no time getting to the point of mixing guitar rock with orchestral strings, a little dubstep and even letting the bassist sing on a few tracks. Parts of The Resistance would put me to sleep; now I find that The 2nd Law can hold my attention with shorter tracks and far more groove than the last Red Hot Chili Peppers album. I mean, listen to “Panic Station”, “Animals”, “Save Me”, “Supremacy”, “Liquid State” or “Unsustainable”. Many people are saying this album is not living up to expectations, but it you have been following the band for some time now, you’ll know that these songs will blow your mind on stage more than on a CD.