Big hit­ters prom­ise year of good cheer

The Herald Magazine - - Arts MUSIC -

es­chewed the folk sound to which they owe their suc­cess. In­stead they recorded an al­bum of what many crit­ics con­sid­ered mild-man­nered in­die rock.

The re­cep­tion ranged from luke­warm to some­times scathing, and Wilder Mind sold only 500,000 copies, one mil­lion fewer than their charts-slay­ing de­but Sigh No More.

But on Delta the band have dusted off the ban­jos, the source of their suc­cess and also ridicule by parts of the press.

Now they are us­ing the in­stru­ment in sub­tler ways. Delta is a com­plex, multi-lay­ered af­fair that could only have been made in the wake of Wilder Mind.

But the group have no re­grets, deny­ing that their third record even di­vided their fan base.

Mum­ford sug­gests it was only the press who had been sur­prised by their change of di­rec­tion.

“The more we played it, the more peo­ple have un­der­stood it,” he in­sists. “I think you are al­ways a cou­ple of years ahead of your au­di­ence.

“I don’t think peo­ple should have been so sur­prised and I don’t think our au­di­ence were. It was more the press.”

Dwane agrees, adding that “the process of meta­mor­pho­sis was con­ducted in the dark. It was im­por­tant to us that we did that.”

He adds: “To our au­di­ence per­haps it felt slightly ex­clud­ing of them, some­how. That wasn’t in­ten­tional.

“We just wanted to make the record we wanted to make and we suc­ceeded.”

While happy to dis­cuss their past, Mum­ford & Sons are clearly keener to fo­cus on their fu­ture.

AS a band whose mu­sic is forged in the fire of live per­for­mance, they are look­ing for­ward to get­ting back on the road, to “the beast we know”, as Lovett puts in.

As the con­ver­sa­tion draws to a close, Lovett has the fi­nal say.

“We just make the mu­sic we want to make. We’ll keep on do­ing that. We did that with Ba­bel, we did that with Wilder Mind and that’s what we are do­ing now,” he de­clares.

“It’s not so bi­nary, where we are mov­ing to­wards or away from one thing. To us it feels much more three-di­men­sional.”

We look for­ward to the next 12 months and the al­bums that you should set a cal­en­dar re­minder for.

Dido, above left, is back with her fifth al­bum Still on My Mind in March. The record fol­lows her 2013 ef­fort Girl Who Got Away, which peaked at num­ber five. Fans will no doubt be hop­ing for the cal­i­bre of songs from her ear­lier days, such as White Flag, Thank You and Here With Me. Dido recorded the al­bum in the UK and it is a con­tin­u­a­tion of her long-stand­ing pro­fes­sional ca­reer with her brother and Faith­less founder Rollo. She said of their part­ner­ship: “It was sim­ple, I only wanted to make an­other al­bum if it was with him. It was made in such an easy way, all the vo­cals recorded on the sofa, a lot of it recorded at home.” She will also tour the UK for the first time in 15 years.

The Spe­cials are re­turn­ing with their first new mu­sic in nearly 40 years. The ska re­vival band will re­lease En­core in Fe­bru­ary. It marks the first time orig­i­nal mem­bers Terry Hall, Lyn­val Gold­ing and Ho­race Pan­ter have recorded new ma­te­rial to­gether since the 1981 clas­sic Ghost Town.

The Queen of Pop is set to make an epic come­back with her 14th stu­dio al­bum, which will re­port­edly be in­spired by Por­tuguese fado mu­sic. In Oc­to­ber, Madonna, above right, said: “I’m fin­ish­ing my record, which I’m go­ing to re­lease next year. Yep, in be­tween rose mist spray and serums, I’m ac­tu­ally mak­ing mu­sic. Can’t quit my day job.” Fans of Madge have sug­gested that the record might be called Magic, as she’s been us­ing #magic on her so­cial me­dia posts for sev­eral months. The Ma­te­rial Girl is work­ing with long-stand­ing col­lab­o­ra­tor Mir­wais.

An­other beloved early-noughties mu­sic icon is mark­ing her re­turn to mu­sic this year: Avril Lavigne is drop­ping her sixth record, Head Above Wa­ter, in Fe­bru­ary. She has promised an open and hon­est col­lec­tion in this, her first al­bum in half a decade. Lavigne, who has fought Lyme dis­ease in re­cent years, said: “I feel like I’ve re­ally opened up on this record more than I ever have be­fore. Each song tells a story that will hope­fully in­spire oth­ers to be­lieve in them­selves and stand up for what they know is right and what they truly de­serve.” One of the tracks on the al­bum, an an­themic rock bal­lad called Tell Me it’s Over, has al­ready been re­leased, with Lavigne ex­plain­ing that it’s about “putting your foot down and clos­ing the door on a re­la­tion­ship that you know is wrong af­ter some time,” giv­ing an­other hint at her cur­rent headspace.

Mu­sic fans have waited al­most too long for a new al­bum from Don­ald Glover, aka Child­ish Gam­bino, who con­firmed a year ago that he was work­ing on his fourth and fi­nal record un­der his mu­si­cal pseu­do­nym. While there has been no of­fi­cial men­tion of a re­lease date or even an al­bum ti­tle, the record is one of the most highly an­tic­i­pated re­leases among hip-hop fans in 2019.

Folk rock­ers Mum­ford & Sons are less a band and ‘more a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween four song­writ­ers’, ac­cord­ing to singer and multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist Ben Lovett

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