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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

NEWS just in this week is that Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot were de­spi­ca­ble peo­ple. Not only that but, ac­cord­ing to a just pub­lished bi­og­ra­phy, each one of them seemed cruel, cal­lous and thirsty for do­min­ion. What, you may ask, does this have to do with the day-to-day shenani­gans of rock ’n’ roll that tend to fill this col­umn ev­ery Satur­day? Not very much, as it turns out; other than that th­ese star­tling rev­e­la­tions come not from this year’s edi­tion of Tyrants for Dum­mies but from the lat­est book on those fun-loving world-dom­i­nat­ing English folkies Mum­ford & Sons. (the se­quel is to be called The Rise and Fall . . ., pos­si­bly) is a fas­ci­nat­ing and en­ter­tain­ing in­tro­duc­tion to the minds at work be­hind the band’s suc­cess, al­though not, one sus­pects, in the way author Chloe Go­van in­tended. Go­van, whose pre­vi­ous books in­clude

and, some­what strangely, a study of Perry’s for­mer squeeze called

leaves no stone un­turned and in no un­cer­tain terms free of cliche cuts to the heart of what has made the cud­dly Mum­mies boys such a run­away phe­nom­e­non the world over. She is par­tic­u­larly fas­ci­nated by front­man and song­writer Mar­cus Mum­ford and his grap­ple with God, her mus­ings on which take up a whole chap­ter called The Great De­pres­sion. In­deed Mum­ford’s lyrics and those of his col­leagues, par­tic­u­larly those ones with sub­lim­i­nal or even ob­tuse mes­sages, ref­er­ences or in­flu­ences re­lat­ing to Him or Her, ap­pear to have had a di­ar­rhoeic af­fect on the writer. She de­votes pages to the break­down of songs such as

and (that’s one of the ob­tuse ones) and how they re­flect Mum­ford’s con­flict­ing thoughts on re­li­gion. This al­lows her to fill para­graphs with her own retelling of some of the Bi­ble’s high­lights. Best of all, though, are Go­van’s leaps into what she be­lieves are the in­ner work­ings of Mum­ford’s brain on all of this. He has come to ques­tion God, she re­veals, af­ter read­ing John Stein­beck’s and Dee Brown’s pro­found in­flu­ence Brown’s tale of Na­tive Amer­i­can suf­fer­ing had on Mum­ford, re­vealed in his blog, prompts Go­van to fill in a few gaps in his­tor­i­cal back­ground, which is where Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot come in; but she’s not done. ‘‘Did this mean,’’ she won­ders on be­half of her trou­bled sub­ject, Mum­ford, ‘‘that evil was a

The stronger force than good — and that God was weaker than the Devil?’’ SD doesn’t have the an­swer to that one yet, but per­haps when the Mum­fords get here in July for Splen­dour in the Grass they will be able to shed some light on the mat­ter. is pub­lished by Om­nibus Press and the rec­om­mended price is $27.99. AUSSIE rock neo-vet­er­ans You Am I are lim­ber­ing up for a national tour be­gin­ning next month that is sell­ing fast. The hook for this romp across Aus­tralia is the re-re­lease of the group’s first three al­bums, and

The band’s singer, Tim Rogers, has more than that go­ing on. He’s about to host a new tele­vi­sion mu­sic show,

the Memo be­ing an old dance hall in Melbourne’s St Kilda. Among his first in­ter­view sub­jects are Kate Miller-Hei­dke, Tex Perkins and Bernard Fan­ning, the last of whom will be talk­ing about his new solo al­bum The show starts on July 16 on Fox­tel’s Stu­dio chan­nel.

Mar­cus Mum­ford of Mum­ford & Sons

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