On Thursday afternoon, Mumford & Sons released the second single off their upcoming album, Wilder Mind. "The Wolf," which puts even more distance between pre- and post-hiatus Mumford & Sons, is the band's latest song since they released "Believe" on March 9. And just as expected, "The Wolf" sounds nothing like Mumford & Sons from their Babel days. Instead, it's full of disorderly guitars and drums heavy as lead. It's phenomenally boring.
Mumford & Sons have always played the vest-wearing, earthen folk-rockers; now, they want to be Foo Fighters. As reported by Rolling Stone back in March, Mumford & Sons announced that they would enter new territory with their new material on Wilder Mind. Due out May 4, the album features the band born anew, abandoning acoustic guitars and banjos and picking up electric instruments. But the two singles released so far lack any electricity.
"I mean, we play what we wanna play," lead singer Marcus Mumford told Rolling Stone. "No one tells us what to do. We're in a very lucky position in that way and it's the same with this album — this is the noise we wanted to make, so we made it."
There's no arguing with that. But if the rest of the songs on Wilder Mind are anything like "The Wolf" and "Believe," the album will sound less like the focused folk-pop band that Mumford & Sons once were and more like a fledgling band attempting to copy an arena-rock formula. Experimentation is essential for growth, but experimentation for its own sake is hollow. Perhaps Mumford & Sons should have stuck to their schtick.