1. Mumford and Sons, Sigh No More
“Darkness is a harsh term, don’t you think?”
English folk band Mumford and Sons do something interesting with their debut, Sigh No More: they take the grandeur and universal statements of Arcade Fire and inject a dose of humility. It’s not as simple as that, of course – other bands have done the same – but Mumford and Sons have done the best job of melding folk’s lyrical honesty with the sheer escapism proffered by electronica. The title track and “Roll Away Your Stone” are the best examples of this: they start out slowly, then whisk the listener away on a stampede of guitars, banjos and drums. It’s a record that sounds like it was made on top of a mountain, but doesn’t get ahead of itself, finding ground in Marcus Mumford’s voice – part prophet and part everyman – instead. It’s stirring, and, even in its lesser moments, undeniably authentic.