Mumford & Sons Sigh No More

Mumford & Sons Sigh No More
Given the strong audience in the UK for Americana/Canadiana roots artists, it's surprising they haven't produced many credible bands of their own. The Brit press are smothering this young London band in praise, but don't believe the hype. For this full-length debut, they recruited producer Markus Dravs, a man who has worked with Arcade Fire. As with that band, Mumford & Sons have an intense, but oft overwrought. approach vocally, musically and lyrically, and throwing horns and strings into the mix doesn't help. Restraint is clearly not in their vocabulary, and the over-the-top sonics mar songs like "Winter Winds" and "Thistle & Weeds," tunes that may well have worked if stripped down. For instance, "White Blank Page" starts off with quiet power, but then massed strings and multi-tracked vocals intrude while an incongruous banjo keeps plucking away. Similar banal soft-to-loud dynamics are at work on most of the material here, in fact. This is a decided disappointment. (Universal/Island)