Mumford & Sons: Delta review – New clobber, new sound, same old cliches
Mumford & Sons
During the recording of Delta, Mumford & Sons’ fourth record, the band welcomed Jordan Peterson to their London-based studio. A photograph subsequently surfaced on social media, forcing the group to clarify their alliance with the contentious Canadian psychologist and author. Upon listening to this record, one could easily picture Peterson thoroughly enjoying its extreme banality.
Having swapped their tweed waistcoats for suave suit jackets and sophisticated overcoats, a transformation in their sound has also become apparent. Blues-folk songs, bolstered by banjo solos, have been replaced with R’n’B and pop-centric rhythms.
Despite this makeover, Mumford & Sons continue to lack imagination. Lyrically, Marcus Mumford repeats stock phrases about a relationship in jeopardy. Elsewhere, Mumford’s metaphor of choice is the light, as sung about on 42, Guiding Light and October Skies.
Keyboardist Ben Lovett described Delta as an album born from experiences of divorce, depression, drugs and death. The British group monetised maudlin happenings via anthemic arrangements, akin to Kings of Leon and Coldplay, comprised of throttling drums, faraway wailing vocals and sentimental piano melodies.
At 61 minutes, Delta is a challenging listen as Mumford & Sons favour style over substance.