There are more than fleeting moments in a Mumford And Sons live set when no other artist could ever truly exist as a serious entity in this world again.
Hyperbole, or simple fact, Mumford And Sons are a revelation. Fronted by the purity and unwavering intensity of young Marcus Mumford, a musician with a delivery so intimate that Nick Drake would be honoured to harmonise with, this band are a truly unique discovery.
Coming across as if they’d been pulling heartstrings before they could barely read, the band only formed in the Christmas of 2007, bonding through a shared love of country, bluegrass, and the winsome beauty of folk.
“Winnie (Winston Marshall, banjo) and I were old friends with a shared love for bluegrass, and we met T-Bear (Ted Dwane, double-bass) over the summer busking in Shoreditch. Ben (Lovett, keyboards) and I were separated at birth, but have known each other for over a decade,” explains Mumford.
Mumford met Marshall at the now defunct King’s Road club, Bosun’s Locker. Marshall was promoting regular country nights there and it became a venue that taught Mumford a lot about the intricacies and expanse of country music. Songwriting had already become second nature, and having formed the band, the outlet to perform was a temptation too strong to ever resist.
Lyrically, Mumford is profound. Share ten short minutes in the company of their MySpace tracks or the forthcoming limited-edition debut EP (possibly already gold-dust by the time you read this), and the words will resonate with unfaltering ease, at the very heart of what Mumford’s songs are about,
“Lyrics are bloody important. Folk music is weird in that it centres around our fascination of stories. I think lyrics inspire longevity in a song.”
It’s these rich, storytelling qualities that make the likes of ‘Blank White Page’, ‘Roll Away Your Stone’, and ‘Feel The Tide Turning’ so irresistible. Kissed by the smouldering gospel of bard Mumford’s voice, they’re all lovelorn and bittersweet, speaking to the listener on both a personal and poetic level.
Close friends with the nu-folksters Noah And The Whale, it also comes as no surprise that Mumford moonlights as drummer with the equally weathered, wise and wonderful Laura Marling. “She’s a real inspiration. She’s got integrity and that’s taught me a bunch.”
Touring the UK and beyond alongside Marling could only have tightened Mumford’s desire to deliver with his own band, and yet the level of musicianship both live and on record prove that this isn’t simply a Marcus Mumford sole project, but a band of musicians all bouncing off each other in a perfect, succinct harmony.
Undoubtedly, there are those touches of bluegrass, smatterings of folk and strong leanings towards alt.country but crucially the classic, finely toned nature of Mumford And Sons’ songcraft are a fresh, and an uplifting experience to drown yourself in.
Despite their English sensibilities, if the backrooms and basement bars of primetime Greenwich Village filtered their magic through the creative minds of four young musicians, Mumford And Sons would be the resulting act; an enchanting experience and one you’ll soon, surely, be unable to miss.