Mumford & Sons were accused of ditching their typical banjos and battle cry choruses in their third album, Wilder Mind. Instead, they opted for a radio-friendly affair in the style of Coldplay – but without the hits. Their fourth effort, Delta, seems at first to have found a happy medium.
Openers 42 and Guiding Light show a lot of promise, with simmering church organs that lay the foundation for Marcus Mumford’s poetic stylings, though the punch isn’t as euphoric as we might have hoped. The pay-off is far greater in stand-out tracks Woman and Beloved, with intimate, insular deliveries in the same vein as singer-songwriter Ben Howard.
The Wild is equally tender, with soft piano melodies mixed with a Sigur Ros sparkle. However, the lulling magic disappears when the regal horns start playing.
Despite the promising start, Delta is an empty set of dreary songs which never really get going. Even the Arcade Fire-inspired Slip Away has next-to-no impact at all.
The closing title track finally is the powerful anthem we were after, but only after an hour-long wait. It’s not enough to wake you from the patience-testing tedium that Mumford & Sons have turned into.