Mumford & Sons are in my top 5 favorite bands. I absolutely ADORE the first 2 folk-rock albums. I quickly learned to love their new direction for ‘Wilder Mind’. I have their live albums, concert blu-rays, I even love their bizarre Johannesburg EP (which is saying something). All this to say that when ‘Guiding Light’ appeared alongside the news that a fourth album was on the way, I was stoked! Not only that but they said they would be incorporating aspects of their old sound into their new music (the return of the mighty banjo!) I was hearing them in interviews talking about how grand this album was going to be, I loved what I was hearing. It seemed like it was going to encapsulate the scope, history, maturity and music of the band all on one record! Shortly before the album's release, ‘If I Say’ came out and it was so different, like nothing I'd heard from them before… But it was amazing! Such a grand epic song! I thought “if this is what the new album is going to sound like then It's going to be perfect”!
The album came out 2 weeks ago. I've listened to it a dozen times. I've tried so hard so like it…but I don't. The 2 pre-release singles are the best songs. There's maybe 1 or 2 slightly upbeat tracks but the album is so SO boring. It's dull, lifeless and makes me want to stop listening. I tried exploring the lyrics, listening to individual tracks separate from the others, listening to it with family to get their thoughts (they flat out hate it due to how boring it is). I find no joy in listening to this album.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate slow records/chill songs, although they almost always have a melodic vibe to them that you can relax to. Something to keep you listening. But with Delta, there's just too much dreary/quiet/boring filler. I'm never against bands trying new styles and I almost always enjoy them. The Killers, Paramore, The Horrors, Arctic Monkeys, Muse; all experimented with something new and I friggin love them! (Again, I love Wilder Mind & Johannesburg and they were really different to what the majority of M&S fans like). I was really looking forward to this and I really wanted to like it, but for me personally there's not enough here for me to enjoy. Plus there's enough small things that push me into starting to dislike this album: The skipable warm-up first track, the infuriating spoken dialogue/no singing with noise blaring in the background track, what few upbeat tracks there are follow the ‘Snake Eyes’ route of being perfectly fine songs but take way too long to build up for what amounts to one really quick intense chorus- then it's over. Being honest I like Marcus Mumford's voice, it's perfectly suited for folk-rock and works fine in previous albums, but there are some songs on here that are like pop ballads that really don't suit his voice at all! Finally I never thought I would say this but I think this album it too long! (I would never say this otherwise because I always want more out of my albums) But, Delta is 62 minutes and with the 2 singles released before the album came out being the best of the bunch, there's just not enough quality to sustain such a long run time. The worthwhile tracks are few and far between.
I hope that one day something changes and I see this album in a new light. Many albums by other artists who experimented with a new music style I initially didn't like but came to love (After Laughter, Wonderful Wonderful, Too Weird to Live Too Rare to Die) but I have given Delta several weeks and many listens to grow on me, but it's just annoying me now how unenjoyable I find this album. Final nail in the coffin, they didn't put ‘Blind Leading the Blind’ on this record. Why not!- Overall, a dreary, DULL album. Find out for yourself beforehand whether or not you like this new style before you go ahead and buy this CD. Maybe in the future people will look back on this one with fondness. A new appreciation for it depending on what Mumford & Sons 5th album is like. Or maybe pretentious internet hipsters will be making video essays on the tragedy of this underappreciated gem.