Mumford & Sons' Delta: What You Need To Know
After three albums which have seen Mumford & Sons progress from banjo-toting, arena-filling rock stars to banjo-toting, stadium filling mega-stars, the boys return this week with their fourth full-length offering.
Delta makes its arrival in stores today, here's everything you need to know...
A little background...
After the release of 2016 EP Johannesburg, which saw the band team up with African musicians Baaba Maal, The Very Best and Beatenberg, Marcus Mumford and co. wanted to try and infuse their next album with the same collaborative sprit that had produced the EP.
Speaking to BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, the band revealed that their next album would be more “introspective and reflective”, with keyboardist Ben Lovett adding that the lyrics on the new album would likely be focussed on “The four Ds: death, divorce, drugs and depression".
In a Rolling Stone interview, the band also revealed that the new record will see them experimenting with getting new sounds from their instruments, and that the songs on the new album incorporate “elements of electronica, rap and jazz”.
Who's producing it?
Having previously worked with Markus Dravs and longtime Arctic Monkeys collaborator James Ford, this time the Mumfords have brought in Adele hitmaker Paul Epworth to produce their fourth album, all of which has been recorded at Epworth's Church Studios in London's Crouch End.
Any special guests?
During the course of recording the album there were reportedly many late-night jam sessions involving various other artists and friends, so inevitably some of these have made it onto the album. Those who made the cut include American singer-songwriters Gill Landry and Maggie Rogers.
What does it sound like?
While there's certainly a different, more polished sound to the new album – especially when compared to the rawness of their debut – Delta isn't quite as radical a departure as some of the band's assertions might suggest; it still feels very much like a Mumford & Sons record, but taken together the various subtle shifts in texture and instrumentation do find the 2018 incarnation of the Mumfords in a very different place to where they started with their first album.
It's true that the album's lyrical preoccupations are more introspective than some of their earlier work, but songs like 'Guiding Light' and even the downbeat 'If I Say' still have that folk-infused anthemic quality that has become the band's trademark, albeit in a more understated way.
Does it deliver?
If all this talk of rap and jazz influences had you worried then it needn't have; yes, there are more electronic textures and subtle influences that make this a much more contemporary-sounding album than some of its predecessors, but it's still immediately identifiable and the core elements of their sound remain on the new album. No artist can be expected to keep making the same record over and over, and Delta takes steps into new territory that are sometimes cautious, sometimes bold, but always interesting.