Mumford & Sons have announced that they are taking an indefinite break from any sort of band activities after bringing out second album Babel, headlining Glastonbury and completing their international tour.
Having rocketed to the top of the charts and become the world’s favourite folky underdogs they have decided to take a well-earned break, but with their reputation at its peak, and their music as relevant as it will ever be, can they afford to take a break right now? Will their meteoric rise to fame keep its momentum without the boys pedalling it, or will it go as fast as it came as their rock and roll lifestyle finally catches up with them?
Now, I am a fan of Mumford & Sons. I like their inoffensive folk-rock and, ignoring their inability to produce anything original or interesting since their first album, they do make good music. And due to the fact that they are making music that wildly differs from the mainstream urban-pop that dominates the charts, it’s no wonder that they’ve done so well, because they’re different. And it’s easy to sell something that’s different. So they’re good, we all agree, and their die-hard fans already have been, and will no doubt continue to be, in heartbroken uproar about their hiatus. But the fans like me, who won’t have to wipe away any tears at the news, can’t help but find the whole thing a bit, well, diva.
…they give the world an opportunity to realise that perhaps they are a one trick pony…
I, like every other person who listens to music, unashamedly dream of the day I will become a rock star – it’s just a matter of time – and so to me Mumford & Sons’ deliberate pause for breath feels a bit like the rich kids are taking their lifestyle a bit for granted, and jacking it all in before they can really afford to. Obviously they work hard, and I probably wouldn’t last a few days in a rock and roll schedule, let alone six years, but when you’ve managed to bag headline slots at the greatest festivals in the world, global fame and a film star wife – when you’ve only made two kind of similar, not very original records – it feels as if they’ve been getting a bit of an easy ride. By taking a break they give the world an opportunity to realise that perhaps they are a one trick pony, and that they will leave a hole that can be easily filled.
Mumford and Sons have survived this long on momentum. Their powerful, crowd-friendly choruses and rags to riches story have given them enough fuel to get this far, and now they’re in danger of giving up their thrust, and giving up their fame. But, on the plus side, this does give lesser known folk bands, ones with perhaps more to offer (albeit on a less earth-spanning scale), a chance to take some limelight. Some examples include the brilliant Holy Moly & The Crackers, Suburban Dirts, Keston Cobblers Club, Main Section Mayhem and many more foot-stomping folk bands with ample variation and talent to offer. So maybe rather than lament the loss of a hugely influential band, or envy a band that managed to climb as high as they have, we should celebrate the path they have cleared and embrace all the great new bands that can follow in their wake, and take commercial folk to all the places they couldn’t.
Track of the Week
Johnny Flynn – Country Mile