Mumford and Sons are a Kind of Musical Pinterest

This week Mumford & Sons released their new album Babel, which I listened to in its entirety (on the life-changing app Spotify). As with their previous work, I really wanted to like the music—felt almost obligated to like the music as a reaction against Ke$ha and Lady Gaga.

And yet . . . there is something not quite right about Mumford’s music. I didn’t know what it was that bothered me until I read my friend Matthew Schmitz’s post, Against Mumford:

Mumford and Sons are a kind of musical Pinterest. They “collect” without really linking together a variety of quaint, beautiful, and touching things. A little gospel here, a little Chesterton there, a little waistcoat here. Because of their penchant for gathering any and every sartorial, lyrical, and instrumental oddment, their coy references to the gospel and GKC become just the “pinning” of another striking and well-wrought thing. We don’t know if they’re Christians (or indeed if they have any existential commitment), or if they’re just aesthetic reactionaries of a limited type. Eclecticism precludes evangelism.

  • Keith Pavlischek

    I hear ya. My kids (well, they are not so much kids anymore but all twenty-somethings) like Mumford and Sons, have bought their new record, but have similar criticisms. We just don’t think they have nearly the musical range or the lyrical depth of The Avett Brothers, with whom they are often compared (and with whom, along with Bob Dylan, they shared the stage with at the Grammy’s a couple years ago).