It was during their Grammy performance of The Cave, bestride by “Appallacian Beatles” harmonies of The Avett Brothers and later serving as the backing to the Rambler himself, that I decided it was about good time to check the London quartet. I was given ample opportunity last year when their debut, Sign No More, was released but for whatever reason I ignored them. It was probably their name. I couldn’t help thinking of the Red Foxx sitcom and that wonderful horn theme that introed that famous junkyard (Duh duh duh-nuh. Duh duh duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh. Duh duh duh-nuh. Duh duh duh-nuh…)
While Marcus Mumford isn’t a dead black comedian, he certainly can grouse like one. Thorough Mr. Mumford and his sons (consistent of Ben Lovett, “Country” Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane) twelve track revue, Mumford sings rough tunes of love (Winter Winds), lost (The Cave, I Gave You All), regret (Little Lion Man) and bitchy ex-girlfriends (White Blank Page), all with a growling intimacy that seems to mean that he’s taking it all too personal.
He certainly puts you in the room with him, all while making you feel like the culprit (My ex also had this amazing ability). Even the far-flung depression-era talk of Dustbowl Dance, when he barks “ I’ll go out back and get my gun”, it feels as if he’s going all Miranda Lambert on us.
Not that Mumford’s raspy vocals doesn’t work well with the four piece (mostly string) arrangement. In fact, his distinctive RP helps call back a Britisher, more folkier, The Frames. Despite their use of brass wail or banjo/acoustic guitar harmonies, the Sons have created a really solid pop album with some delightful straight forward melodies, hooky chorus work and energetic live presence.
Sonically, it’s not exactly as verdant as others in it’s vein. The aforementioned Avett Brothers create a greater variety of sound with much of the same instruments. Despite all Mumford and the three other members of the band (consistent of Ben Lovett, “Country” Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane) being all mutli-instrumentalist, the group falls back on the routine twang of banjo and the train-paced strumming of acoustic guitar. They seem to get by on guts, energy and just a little bit of soul. It seems to be enough for them, but one wonders what would happen if they tried to go bigger. Perhaps it’s time for a little bit of good ol’ fashion family franchising.
Just a thought.
Written by Benel