Big hitters promise year of good cheer
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