Monday, September 21st, 2009

Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man

Londoners get their folk on…


Renato Pagnani: This makes me want to chug beer pale as harvest moonlight and cold as swallowing liquid nitrogen and throw my arms around my best mates and sing songs until my lungs feel like bursting and laugh hearty laughs until we stumble out of the pub at three in the morning into the warm, purple-grey night.

Alex Ostroff: A Celtic stormer with strong vocal harmonies that constantly threatens to go off the rails, without ever careening over the cliff. At first, the upbeat drinking-song vibe is a bit incongruous with the depressive subject of a failing relationship. There are some well-penned lyrical turns, however: “Your grace is wasted in your face / Your boldness stands alone among the wreck.” I have difficulty separating the aesthetic from musical memories of seal hunting and alcoholic binges, but on balance Mumford & Sons acquit themselves well.

Anthony Easton: There is no reason why I like this as much as I do. I mean, anything with banjos I am predisposed to enjoy, and the lyrics are sweet, and that he can barely sing is lovely, and the self loathing leading to an apology is charmingly befuddled, so there are all of those reasons, but it is obvious, and the banjo playing isn’t v. good, and it goes on too long, and the video has a jus’ folks charm that is the height of pseuds slumming, so it has that against it. But the last chorus pushes it over into a solid 8.

Tom Ewing: So much to enjoy about this track: the structure, arrangement, pace – all excellent. That thumping drum of doom at the start, the sense of space around the vocals, the lurch into and pull away from the faster section. Shame about the comedy growler on the top: in 2009 nobody should get this much obvious self-satisfaction from saying the word “fucked” on record.

Iain Mew: I love me some unlikely swearing and the chorus to this is right up there with The Research on that front. Actually, the two are looking at the same fuck up, just from opposite sides — in M&S’ case it’s not a future worry but a past reality, and crippling with its regret. The lead singer sounds totally cracked by it, and while the band get a decent shuffle going and show off some nice harmonies, it’s his raw and perfectly fitting vocals that make the song.

Ian Mathers: Sadly, I was kind of looking forward to this; a while back I heard a song by these guys called “Blank White Page” that was like some kind of overheated, overly dramatic version of Elbow, and it was interestingly flawed in a way that made me eager to see if they could straighten themselves out. They couldn’t. Not only does this lose whatever it was that brought Elbow to mind for me before, it’s gone from overdramatic to the kind of canned, crabbed drama that we tend to call emo these days. The lyrics are awkward and kind of hateful, the music is nothing special — there’s no reason to waste your time, really.

Hillary Brown: I’ve got no idea what they’re on about, but the pacing is lively without being, like, Riverdance and the healthy use of profanity and anger cuts the cuteness.

Martin Skidmore: There’s a growl in the voice that I rather like, and a blunt honesty in the lyric that’s quite admirable. At moments it called to mind the wonderful late Kevin Coyne, which is very good. I didn’t think the music did enough to match the words and singing: it skips along rather prettily and happily while he tells us he “really fucked it up this time” — I wanted more force, or at the very least less jollity.

Chuck Eddy: These lads look like a wimpier version of Old Crow Medicine Show, what with the banjo and standup bass and quaint ranch duds and all, and they do get a wee bit of those new-folk jigsters’ intermittent hoedown energy into the opening jangle here. But not into the song itself, or the singing — actually, I’d take their dorky long-vowel break over any part with actual words.

Michaelangelo Matos: It’s pretty good, but doesn’t quite stay put, ironically enough.

Alfred Soto: Better folk cliches than Chieftains also-rans, but the only time this ditty transcends the innocuous is when the voices of these sincere young men ascend higher and higher into wordless recrimination. It’s probably a good idea that they didn’t explain what the hell the title means.

2 Responses to “Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man”

  1. folks who dug this (and I kinda did) should really really check out Hoots and Hellmouth for a similar sound that I think is even better.

  2. Hmm. I really thought this was going to be more universally disliked than it was.