Babel - Mumford & Sons

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 33
  2. Negative: 3 out of 33
  1. 91
    The band has mastered the emotional gut-punch of quiet/loud dynamics, exploding from low-murmured harmonies into full Appalachian freak-outs.
  2. Sep 24, 2012
    "Babel" reveals a band happy to remain entirely Mumford - although a larger, smoother Mumford, offering fresh nuances and textures while emboldened by the promise of the initial mission.
  3. Sep 25, 2012
    The London quartet's hallmarks--plucky banjo, hard-driving acoustic guitar--are in place, but the songs are bigger and bolder, right down to Marcus Mumford's exuberant wails that now grind with more grit.
  4. Sep 25, 2012
    While the band will undoubtedly be criticized for playing it safe on the new record, there is no denying the music is solid despite its familiarity.
  5. 80
    It's not perfect, but it's perfectly Mumford & Sons.
  6. Sep 19, 2012
    It's very much a 'if it ain't broke' album and, for now, that's okay.
  7. Sep 19, 2012
    More than just a decent nu-folk album, Babel is a great pop album. [Oct 2012, p.82]
  8. Sep 20, 2012
    The power of the arrangements and Marcus Mumford's tortured-vicar vocals is undeniable. And if his conflation of love, lust and Christian spirituality sounds more like pre-dawn confusion than neat Bible lessons, it feels all the truer for it.
  9. Sep 26, 2012
    There are images of walls and towers in nearly every song, but they don't serve as a unifying theme--a missed opportunity for an album named after a famous tower.
  10. Oct 17, 2012
    Babel is the more subtle and accomplished album. [No. 92, p.56]
  11. Oct 4, 2012
    It's certainly not a departure from the band's debut, but rather a continuation.
  12. Oct 4, 2012
    It's certainly not a departure from the band's debut, but rather a continuation.
  13. Sep 26, 2012
    If you despised Sigh No More, then you will find nothing here that even attempts to change your mind. If you found the band's debut to be charming and fun, then Babel is absolutely worth your time and money.
  14. 60
    While the former saw some structural variety, most of Babel is content to follow in its older brother's footsteps, delivering a slow build from nothing to eruption on practically every track.
  15. Sep 26, 2012
    While there are some real gems here, occasionally the songs tend to fade into generic background folk music.
  16. This critic cannot in all honesty say, with a clear conscience, that their second album is absolutely terrible. Because it plain isn't.
  17. 60
    If you can get past the earnest nostalgia and tweedy affectations, this isn't a bad album, just an average one.
  18. Sep 24, 2012
    Two albums in and Mumford & Sons still sound like a talented outfit fused to the starting block, paralyzed by the thought of having to truly race for their lives.
  19. 60
    Babel bowls along with the ebullient energy one expects of Mumford & Sons, like a cider-soused hoedown at an after-hours lock-in. But while this works to the advantage of their more rousing sentiments, it tends to iron out the subtler creases in some of the songs.
  20. Sep 20, 2012
    Essentially it's a honing of their 2009 debut, Sigh No More, but with more of the ferocity you encounter in their live show.
  21. Sep 19, 2012
    the focus on matters of the heart is limiting, reducing the genre to the level of rusticised boy-band pop. [Oct 2012, p.84]
  22. Sep 19, 2012
    This is ultimately comfortable listening, befitting folk sounds of a resolutely un-freak variety. [Oct 2012, p.96]
  23. Sep 28, 2012
    The real issue with Mumford & Sons is its pedestrian songwriting and predictable delivery.
  24. Sep 25, 2012
    Individually, these songs pack an emotional wallop, performed with a passion that is rare in today's indie-rock scene of disconnected cool. But taken as a giant lump, they're exhausting dead-ends: 12 straight climaxes cancel each other out - and Babel could use a little rising action.
  25. Sep 25, 2012
    What the album leaves you with is the image of a little lion man, rattling his ever-expanding cage.
  26. Sep 24, 2012
    While the quartet may be perfectly competent musicians, though, their fundamental conservatism plays against them on Babel, making for an album that's entirely too familiar and safe.
  27. Oct 10, 2012
    For those who never liked That Guy Who Plays Acoustic Guitar At The Party, Babel's gonna sound like the dentist's drill. For others, this still may be the point at which you put down your makeshift tambourine, get up from the half-circle and find a better room in the party house.
  28. Sep 27, 2012
    This much-anticipated follow-up essentially repeats the foot-stomping, banjo-picking formula, but scrubs away the subtlety.
  29. Sep 26, 2012
    Consciously or not, U2-style evangelism is all over the Mumfords' bland but biblically titled second album, Babel.
  30. Sep 24, 2012
    With every crescendo of catgut and steel, their lack of nuance becomes wearing.
  31. Sep 28, 2012
    Effectively, it is emo for Blacksmiths. This would all be semi-tolerable, were it not for the sickeningly overwrought poetry bobbing on top.
  32. Oct 1, 2012
    I'll admit, the songs on Babel wouldn't be so painful if it weren't for the god-awful "deep" lyricism of Marcus Mumford.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 130 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 38
  2. Negative: 6 out of 38
  1. Sep 27, 2012
    This is such a refreshing album! After hearing some of the complaints of this album it's like people didn't know what to expect from this band! They are a folk-rock band, why are people surprised that they released an album that has drawn so much reference and style from other folk bands! It is a mixture of powerful and heavy set songs that make you want to just move, and some amazingly heartfelt ballads. It is not quite the perfect album that "Sigh No More" was but it I would happily listen to this over the mediocrity of modern music, the senseless and endless drones that you hear on the radio (Guetta, Skrillex, Rita Ora et al)

    Each song has a different meaning to the last and as a complete album the deluxe version is simply beautiful!
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 25, 2012
    Mumford & Sons are back and better than ever! This is an excellent sophomore album from this wonderful back band from England. It is better than Sigh No More? Probably not better, but just as good. I am currently on my 5th listen and I absolutely love it. Full Review »
  3. Sep 25, 2012
    They've taken what made them unique and good before, and polished it to such a fine sheen that you can hear your own soul in their music. This is the best thing that's happened to the modern music scene in quite a while. I wasn't a fan of their earlier music, even though I liked it somewhat, but I just can't get over this album. Lyrically profound, dynamically perfect and played with such energy and conviction you just can't help wanting to sing along.

    Best taken with long drives in the countryside, sitting at the seaside or looking out on nature.
    Full Review »