October saw the release of two albums that have both made it into our year end top ten. Tarot Sport (see yesterday) was one and Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons is the other. Mumford and Sons are also the first of three artists that last year we named in our ones to watch for 2009 list who have produced debut recordings that feature in our album of the year list.
Of all of our favourite albums of this year Sigh No More is probably the most straightforward. It’s a collection of well crafted songs formed from a mix of bluegrass, folk, gospel and mainstream rock. It’s a strong and instant enough collection to appeal to those who own Kings Of Leon and Scouting For Girls CD’s, yet powerful and deep enough to appeal to those whose musical horizons stretch a little further than the mainstream. Mumford and Sons have put together a recording of majestic melodies that soar into peoples affections with ease. Each song on Sigh No More is neither fussy or complicated, but every one has elegant force. Such force is achieved through moments of lyrical tenderness, down-on-the-farm fireside warm gravel vocals and musical euphoric swells that are ably assisted by the production of Arcade Fire producer Markus Dravs. The mood is often painted with downbeat, reflective segments, but these are tempered with thumping banjo hoedowns and foot down on the accelerator rabble rousing stomps, albeit these stomps are always kept under a leash so as to never take over and destroy the atmosphere set.
If Sigh No More, through its significant airing of the singles Little Lion Man and Winter Winds on the radio has engaged new fans to this genre of music, then the world is a better place. If it hasn’t, then the world is still a better place for its existence. You just can’t keep a good song down.