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A friend burned me an alternative Christmas album (thankfully no Slade!) and on it was the track "Winter Winds" by the Mumfords. It is a roaring joy of a track, a brassy, processional pop song full of banjos and horns. It's wintry in a "Fairytale of New York" way and lead singer Marcus Mumford delivers better than Parcel force. The rave reviews on Amazon were checked out and the album purchased. It comes with a health warning, "Sigh no More" is so addictive that you become a bore amongst your friends because of frequent rants about its wonders. You will find it to be the easiest piece of musical missionary work since the response back is universally positive.

Who are the Mumfords? The NME tells us with pinpoint accuracy that the band was "Formed in late 2007 through a shared love of country, bluegrass and folk, the Mumford's belong to a clique that's already scaled grand artistic peaks; performers such as Laura Marling and Noah And The Whale taking the shambling, confessional style of the New York anti-folk scene and fleshing it out for broader commercial appeal". Check out the many clips on you tube and you will see a band of fresh faced folkies, decked out in waistcoats and beards having the time of their life. To the acts above you could also add a Pogues influence, a bit of the Macabees and in Marcus's voice is the passion heard in Sam Duckworths "Get Cape Wear Cape Fly" debut album "Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager" (which we hope he recaptures) or even sometimes a young Peter Gabriel.

The songs are all strong but to single out a few for your attention the lovely ballad "After the storm" is achingly beautiful and what a mature work for such a young band. Similarly the single "Little Lion Man" is a banjo driven foot tapper but with superb lyrics and story. Other standouts include the initially soothing "I gave you all" which is a slow burner that builds to an excellent and powerful crescendo. Mention in dispatches should also go to Waterboys "Fisherman blues" era stomp "Roll away your stone" and the excellent high tempo folk of "Thistle and Weeds" and the sheer passion of "White Blank Page". I have in candour not yet found a real duffer on this album which is hugely impressive and with the "The Cave" they have recorded one of the songs of 2009. For the curious there are a number of Mumfords songs circulating not on this album. These include "Sister" available free from their website, the lovely "Liar" and covers of Calvin Harris's "Im not alone" and the Beatles "Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight". There is clearly strength in depth with this band and talent to spare.

It's great to see that Jo Whiley, Zane Lowe and Greg James from Radio 1 have enthused and championed this album all year. There are some reviews of "Sigh no More" suggesting that it is too angst ridden or alternatively (and in contradiction) it's a bunch of posh kids discovering that folk can be fun. It is not perfect by any means but for a debut oozes huge potential and places a hefty weight of lofty expectation on a precociously talented new band. Let us hope they can sustain it.
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VINE VOICEon 27 November 2009
I have been buying rock music for over fifty years and this is definitely amongst my top five albums of all time. Could even be the best.Very hard to believe it is a first album! The music seems to be a fusion of rock,folk,and bluegrass and has echoes of the early Strawbs album,[[ASIN:B00000B96Q From The Witchwood] I loved the light and shade of tone, the changes of rhythm and pace,and the passionate, spiritual lyrics with their encouragement to identify with what it is like to be fully human in a flawed, but God made world. I can give no greater compliment to Marcus Mumford other than to say that if John Donne and the other metaphysical poets were alive today, they would be writing lyrics like these.Marcus is clearly very mature and talented and has gathered a tight and gifted band around him whose performance is enhanced by a superb production.They deserve to have success "rain down" on them, yet when I saw them interviewed on YouTube,] they seemed to be refreshingly modest and content to let the music speak eloquently for them. And it really does! I can't wait to see a gig of theirs. Go out and buy this. You won't regret it. You might even "Sigh no More".
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VINE VOICEon 13 January 2011
I can't get enough of this fantastic album, and it grows on me more with every listen.

Sigh No More, The Cave, Roll Away Your Stone, Little Lion Man and Awake My Soul all start out gentle and beautiful, and then work themselves up into gorgeous, stomping, rousing choruses that will have you and your heart singing along. Winter Winds, an out and out ballad of pure class and sad, hopeful, gorgeous lyrics, was what drew me to Mumford in the first place, and amazingly, it's not even my favourite track of the album! Dust Bowl Dance is defiant and tempestuous, adding a rock flavour to the mostly folk/pop sound, and White Blank Page and After the Storm are two quiet, plaintive treasures with words and sentiment to make you ache.

The quality of this album just knocks me sideways. Not only is the music bloody excellent (like soul food, seriously) and the lyrics brutally honest yet sweet at the same time, when all else goes quiet and it comes down to the, Mumford and Sons don't disappoint. This, children, is what a band sounds like when they aren't sitting in a studio having all the electronics turned up to mask the fact they can't sing.

I'm in love. I was sold on Mumford the moment I heard the incredible 'The Cave', but I never dreamed I'd find so many more gems on this album. It took me a few listens to like some of the subtler tracks, but it was well worth the patience. More, please.
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on 3 October 2009
Wasn't expecting to get this so soon so was pleasantly surprised. Stuck it in the kitchen cd player, selected Little Lion Man as a taster while I charged up the cafetiere. Flicked it to Track 1 & with coffee & toast in hand, started to listen. Within minutes I was taken to that place where there's a tear in your eye, a grin on your face & a giggle in your heart because you know that what you're hearing is in your life to stay!! As I inhaled deeply, I got a heady aroma of Levellers & Dave Matthews infused with subtle, occasional Fleet Foxes undertones. I didn't leave the kitchen until the album finished - it's fantastic.
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on 13 October 2010
I think this is a fantastic album!! I was so surprised that I would like it as I am not normally into country music. But having seen them on the tv via glastonbury and reading and leeds I really liked their music and got the album. Mumford and Sons's music can not be boxed into the country style; yes "winter winds" is very country type but overall the album can be described as having mixtures of folk, rock and maybe even a bit of pop. I love "thistle and weeds" and "dust bowl dance" to name a couple of my favs. They are beautifully written songs and each band member plays a different instrument which also makes the album really good. The songs have a magical, mystic quality to them. A few have been used in tv shows such as "after the storm" in "stargate universe" and a few in "Grey's Anatomy".
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on 10 June 2015
One half decent track, "The Cave", which will probably be their only decent track ever. These trust funded Wurzel wannabes demonstrate what is so wrong with most music these days - a cynically crafted, stylised and soulless collection, headlining Glastonbury after one album, appealing to the semi-hipster badly bearded youth who wouldn't know the real thing musically from a marketing executive's creation if it crashed into their tipi yurt at a festival sponsored by an international conspiracy of sugar sellers. This is about as lacking in authenticity as it's possible to be, without becoming Coldplay. Syrupy weakling 5th form poetry lyrics, a one riff banjo, amateur plonky double bass, and a cahones free delivery. Generation zzzzzz get the dull band they deserve.
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To say that Mumford and Sons debut `Sigh No More' is truly infectious and will get your feet tapping is a gross understatement. From the album opener until the dying notes of `After the Storm' I often have a sloppy grin plastered across my face and find myself dancing and slapping my leg with gusto: and even though there are some more slower paced ballads mixed in here, this is still an upbeat and joyous album. The banjo playing never fails to delight me and it adds that frenetic, fast tempo sound that only this instrument can offer. There are SO many good tracks on this album it is difficult to single any one out, although `Little Lion Man' is one of the most well known and has one of those choruses you can't help but shout along with full blast. The more gentle `After the Storm' is a beautiful way to end the album as well and manages to bring you down from your album buzz without any feeling of let down whatsoever. There is much talk of this band being `nu-folk' and how there has been a traditional folk backlash etc, but to be honest who cares about labels and pigeon holes, taken on face value and enjoying the music for what it is (which is all anyone should do anyway!), this is a great album of a band who are obviously enjoying themselves and offering us some excellent songs, performed with verve and passion. Who could really ask for anything more? One of the best albums I have bought recently and well worth a try.

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on 24 August 2010
I must have listened to this album over thirty times in the last two weeks. I'm simply amazed at it. Never before have I bought or listened to music like it, but I love it! It reaches deep down into one's heart and plucks the strings. It's cathartic. Songs to cry with as they touch deep pain. Songs to inspire and give hope. Songs which make you realise that you are not alone. With a thumping beat. Beautiful vocals, delightful banjos, deep double bases and guitars.. It's a delight. It's a joy. You simply must buy it, and listen whilst reading the lyrics. I defy you not to be deeply moved as you listen and reflect...
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on 11 June 2010
I bought this as a result of the band's appearance on the Jools Holland show.

I liked their exuberance: they seem to me to have cleverly thought about their music and the range of listeners that it will appeal to.

The music is eclectic, interesting and fun to listen to. The words take a bit more effort to hear and understand and I don't think I have quite got there yet. But I like it so far. As their music is so distinctive I think that the band has a challenge to vary their current successful formula and yet still engage listeners, me anyway, that liked this album.

The CD is of good quality.
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on 5 October 2009
Just a response to another review on here, which states that the production looses some of the passion of the original Mumford recordings.
Being a producer/studio technician I have to disagree, I would say that a lot of work has gone into keeping the driving pace, raw power and unique Mumford style. I was worried that the album was going to ruin the way I felt about the songs as they lost their character. However I was very pleasantly surprised with the style of the production; it could be a lot worse, turned into characterless pop (for example the way Seth Lakeman's records seem to be going).
The reason some people probably feel the songs have lost some of their 'spark' is due to the fact that the EP's were essentially 'live' recordings, with little production. The songs are obviously going to sound different, but that is surely the point? Otherwise there would be no reason to re-record them put them on an album, just as duplicates of the originals. Recordings can rarely portray the passion of a live performance, and so they try and capture a different aspect of a song, and enhance it in ways that can't be done in a live performance.

Basically my point is that it is unfair to listen to the album in the same way that you would listen to them live or on an EP, as the aim is entirely different. The live version is an attempt to make you jump up and sing and feel the passion, the album's aim is to surround you in sonic beauty.
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