- 16 Nov 18
Solid effort from folk-rock superstars
The term ‘delta’ has a double meaning when it comes to Mumford & Sons’ newest album. On the one hand, it’s a reference to the fact that this is their fourth album (‘Delta’ is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet). On the other, band member Ben Lovett’s hint that “a river delta” is the most fertile part of a river, suggests that this record sprang from a particularly fecund period of creativity.
From this, one might expect the group’s most innovative album yet. The brooding intensity of opener ‘42’ gives the impression of a band who’ve managed to combine the stadium-sized anthems of previous album Wilder Mind with the mandolin-led folk that made them famous. But then there are also tracks like the banjo-led ‘Beloved’ and the stompy-clappy ‘October Skies’, which sound very Mumford & Sons.
Meanwhile, Mumford & Sons steadfastly refuse to adapt their lyrical approach. It’d be easy to take a stab at them for penning lyrics like “enthroned in white grandeur” or “I’d never seen you unkempt before/ As you whisper darling close the door” – does anyone talk like this? – but lines like these are the group’s chivalrous stock in trade.
What is impressive is the group’s obvious chemistry with producer Paul Epworth. The man behind a whole string of critically and commercially successful songs and albums, Epworth has a gift for turning folk songs into big, bold efforts that embrace indie and electro in a fascinating way. The title track is powerful. So too is ‘Slip Away’, with the latter successfully incorporating hip-hop rhythms to nice effect.
With Delta, Mumford & Sons have another arena-ready collection of tunes on their hands.