Mumford & Sons, "Wilder Mind" (Glassnote)
Mumford & Sons has freaked people out with its new album. Now, because we live in the age of social media hyperventilating, the indie-folk rockers' embrace of synthesizers and a full drum kit has generated ridiculous bombast, comparing it with Bob Dylan's going electric. It's really not that serious. Yes, the banjos are gone. Yes, the songs are not immediately recognizable as Mumford & Sons songs. They now compete on their own strength. The acoustic folk ballad "Cold Arms" would be poignant in any setting, while the haunting harmonies of "Only Love" make it the most Mumford-y track. The first single, "Believe" — once the initial shock wears off that it comes from Mumford and not the National — can stand on its own as a hit. The galloping rocker "Ditmas" is also stunning. But some songs fall short and some moments are just weird — like how Marcus Mumford adds some Southern drawl to his British accent.
Glenn Gamboa, Newsday
Distorted close-ups of a woman's face add to the mystery of Ambrosia Parsley's "Skin & Bone," which sounds like a lost Garbage track. tinyurl.com/pjykadm