Mumford & Sons – Delta
I’ve been a staunch defender of the Mumford lads in recent years. I thought Wilder Mind was a bold step forward, more so than people give them credit, and for the most part it delivered on what it promised. Their Johannesburg EP took things even further. In collaborating with other artists, and embracing different styles in such an open and receptive way, the release brought out the best in them. While it was once the norm that most great acts would never sit still, and always pursue new styles and ideas, these days its rare to find a household name openly taking risks. Credit where credit is due. I had hoped that their commendable surge in creativity over the past few years would continue into Delta, but sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case. Granted they dabble in places with electronica on this record, and even some Bon Iver-esque vocoder on ‘Forever’, but it’s not enough to give it the spark it needs.
What little creativity is here lacks conviction. Think of their past couple of releases as explorers breaking ground on new land; there was an excitement to it, an electricity in the air. Delta is an expedition deeper inland; it stills technically leads you somewhere new but it’s a variation on what has come before, and feels more matter of fact than a voyage into the unknown. The whole album feels devoid of passion, there’s no energy to propel it forward. It’s not a bad album, besides the jarring and unnecessary interlude of ‘Darkness Visible’ there are no major missteps, but at the same time there are no standout moments. After their recent upward trajectory, Mumford & Sons have seriously stalled with this entirely forgettable record. Here’s hoping they pick things up next time around.