Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More" is platinum, now we move on - Reverb

I Might Be Wrong: Move Over Mumford

Sigh some more.

In October of 2009, Mumford & Sons performed “Timshel,” acoustically, at the offices of Time Out New York, where I was working at the time. It was simple, harmonic. Well played.

But, here we are in June of 2011 and the paternalistic Marcus Mumford and his boys still have a debut, “Sigh No More,” nestled securely in the Top 20. It’s platinum in the United States and three-times over in its native UK, two things that just don’t happen very much anymore. To boot, Mumford & Sons are playing two sold-out shows at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium this week before heading down the legitimacy highway to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

It’s not that Mumford & Sons are a bad band; they aren’t. A song like “The Cave” exhibits a rising catchiness that could single-handedly explain the band’s success. But, why are we still, as a nation, listening to Mumford & Sons? I could see giving “Sigh No More” a few spins in ‘10, but, by now, the saccharine lyrics and Mumford’s whiny croon are more played out than political sex scandals. “Winter Winds” is a bore, “Roll Away Your Stone” overly emotional and formulaic, etc., etc, Amen. In short, there’s nothing challenging about the music.

Certainly, Mumford deserves some credit for bringing a pseudo-folky Americana-slash-bluegrass into the public consciousness again. But, if you like Mumford & Sons, why not check out some, well, better options? At least until they release a new record, that is.

A good place to start would be local folkie Nathaniel Rateliff, who opens for Mumford at the Fillmore shows. His tunes are unassuming and moving. Just down Colfax on Wednesday, Okkervil River heads up a stacked bill at the Bluebird. Will Sheff & Co.’s new one, “I Am Very Far,” is a surprisingly fresh turn from the vets, the songs complex and spry. The $22 show — which includes cerebral punks Titus Andronicus and loop magician Julianna Barwick — will undoubtedly be a better investment than trolling Craigslist for $100 Mumford tix.

If you’re headed to Telluride (like a few members of our Reverb crew) — which might just be the best music festival experience in the country — there will obviously be no shortage of Bill Monroe-style authentic bluegrass. But, be sure to stalk wunderkind picker Chris Thile, from his early Friday session with Michael Daves to his pre-Mumford slot Sunday with Punch Brothers. Maybe you can reverse commute to the food tents while the masses take in Mumford; just be sure to get back for Robert Plant’s closing set.

Sigh no more; five other recently-released folk-ish albums to try out:

1. Bill Callahan, “Apocalypse”

2. Dawes, “Nothing Is Wrong”

If I Wanted Someone by Dawes by alynmarie

3. Cass McCombs, “Wit’s End”

4. Woods, “Sun and Shade”

Woods: Sun and Shade by alteredzones

5. Kurt Vile, “Smoke Ring for My Halo”

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Colin St. John is a Denver-based writer and merrymaker. Follow him on Twitter and check out his blog.

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  • Cutie

    and so the backlash begins… Shame. Such really down to earth guys those mumford lads and they havent let mainstream success go to their heads. Sure there are other bands that play technically better music (they even admit this). But do other bands connect with their audience as these guys do and grow at an expontential rate by word of mouth? You can keep asking why they’ve achieved such popularity and I, like others dont have to drink the cool aid to stop liking a band cause they’ve become popular and just be happy for their music and success.

  • Aeduran11

    Does St. John like any music? I’ve only seen his articles criticize this band or that. It started with U2, and moved on to every band playing Red Rocks. If Sigh No More was good, why is it bad now? This will not be the same tour that came through a couple months ago. They are touring new music along with the fan faves. I would just like the Colin come out with something that is not critical for the sake of being critical. Also, the music isn’t challenging? Try to get three other buddies and play a reasonable cover of The Cave.

  • Aeduran11

    Does St. John like any music? I’ve only seen his articles criticize this band or that. It started with U2, and moved on to every band playing Red Rocks. If Sigh No More was good, why is it bad now? This will not be the same tour that came through a couple months ago. They are touring new music along with the fan faves. I would just like the Colin come out with something that is not critical for the sake of being critical. Also, the music isn’t challenging? Try to get three other buddies and play a reasonable cover of The Cave.

  • jdubb

    You obviously don’t know these goons if you’re referring to them as “down to earth lads”. They are far from it. They’re just about the most pretentious bunch of pricks you’ll ever meet. They are about as sincere as a politician which should come as no surprise since they are a bunch English trust fund babies. Move over Mumford…. More like shut the fuck up Mumford.

  • Marion

    Wow, couldn’t disagree more. Mumford and Sons is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. I was at the Fillmore Wednesday night and the music was exceptional, the band fun and humble and entertaining and there was nearly a visible thread connecting that band to the crowd. Amazing experience. And you refer to Marcus’ voice as a whiny croon? I would listen to that man sing the phone book. And the music is ridiculously technical, with chords changing nearly on every word, and the speed they strum and pick is mind numbing. #endrant