‘Wilder Mind’

‘Wilder Mind’ – Mumford & Sons, 2015

The cherry blossoms are in season. It’s that confused kind of not-too-warm, not-too-cold time of year when going out of the house requires an assortment of potential necessary items of clothing, as the weather is as subject to change as my mind when I think about how I feel that Mumford and Sons have neglected to include the banjo in their newest compilation of songs, the highly anticipated ‘Wilder Mind’.

 In the beginning, I automatically adopted the generalistic hipster belief that any Mumford and Sons album not featuring a banjo somewhere amongst it’s folky depths should not have any right to call itself a Mumford album, and expect to have the same appeal to people.
It’s an easy side to take. It is different.
But man is it good.
I have tried to be unbiased in my judgement, which proved near impossible as my love for the London quartet is still so strongly rooted in good memories and positivity that I was forced to mentally detach myself from them in every way before listening to the album in full – a move ultimately made easier by the slight alteration in sound made by the exclusion of Mr. Banjo (*tear*).

The colloqiualization of the opening track ‘Tompkin Square Park’ invites us away from our present situations to briefly meet in this obscure location, and from the opening electric guitar riff sets the pre-affirmed tone of ‘different’ – undoubtedly giving hardcore critics exactly what they wanted within seconds of their listening. However as the track progresses, the reliability of frontman Marcus Mumford’s acute ability to capture complex emotions within a few short words is thankfully reassured with the line ‘No flame burns forever, you and I both know this all too well”, leaving a relatable echo of regret and a sense once again of the question of the Laura Marling love-affair as inspiration being left unanswered.

Believe’ and ‘The Wolf’ consistently follow, having been the first two tracks released from the album and subsequently the subject of much Mumford-discussion over the past weeks. Crashing drums and guitars further cement the progression of the bands’ sound to a more rock-fueled and bassline orientated expression of the same old beautiful melodies, Marcus’ distinguishable vocals ensuring it does not in fact stray too far from the Mumford and Sons we’ve grown to love so much.

The more I listen, the more increasingly difficult I find it to describe my feelings for the title-track ‘Wilder Mind’. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve actually pressed ‘repeat’, trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes it so damn incredibly special. There is a combination of truth, positivity, and natural beauty to the intense lyrics which suggest a deeply-rooted origin in mental health and the tribulations of having an uncontrollable ‘wild mind’, as it is in this sense, so aptly put. ‘You can be, every little thing, you want nobody to know”. …To me, it perfectly captures the potential and power of our own minds and the will to steer our lives wherever we wish. We are so easily influenced by external sources and beings that we so often forget and lose ourselves to the fact that we are all the masters of our own destiny, for want of a less cheesy expression. ‘You can call it love, if you want’ – it shows me that life and relationships and the world are literally what we each make of them, and that we ultimately are in full control of our own lives. It’s an empowering, emotional, and deeply-reaching four minutes of pure bliss to listen to, and I’m genuinely already excited to experience it live someday soon. I could probably do an entire post/review dedicated to this one song, but for now let’s move on.

 The album continues with its’ discussion of love and relationships with a somewhat dark-undertone, the likes of ‘Just Smoke’ and ‘Snake Eyes’ declaring young love to be a fleeting and unreliable source of happiness, yet with a more mature and knowledgable approach to the ever-present possibility of hurt – ‘it’s in the eyes, I can tell you will always be danger”. While this may seem negative, I feel it also reflects a sense of personal growth and strength as the realisation of one’s own worth and independent awareness is deemed separate and stronger than any relationship could ever be – an evolution of sorts from the earlier sorrowful ballads of ‘Sigh No More’.

Worth a mention aswell in the sense of personal growth and independent acceptance is the more upbeat ‘Ditmas’, the leading line of which ‘This is all I ever was” again giving a sense of positive contentment with one’s current existence, embodying the practice of mindfulness in a single line.

I could honestly discuss the ins and outs of each and every track on this masterpiece of an album, imagining hearing them live on a Summer’s day at an outdoor gig and being completely contented with life at that moment. ‘Hot Gates’ being the most recent release, the ebb and flow of the swelling bass echoing that of the earlier ‘Lover of the Light’ from ‘Babel’, I can perfectly imagine the dimmed lights and uplifting harmonies of the choir as it’s performed, a chilled atmosphere and sense of peace eminating from the extended bass lines and lyrics, once again suggesting a personal growth and final movement away from past hurt and troubles. The ‘Hot Gates’ that lead on to somewhere more positive and an acceptance of circumstance ‘There is no way out, of your only life, so run on, run on…’ really leave us with a sense of peace and positive progression as the album finally comes to a close, a sincere, honest, and flawlessly-worded message of contempt to any haters who doubted the bands’ change of sound, while also guaranteeing the validity and certainty of positive things to come.

While I never thought I’d manage to glean over 1,000 words writing an album review (and if you’ve actually kept reading this far, I thank you kindly for your patience!), I have to admit I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the analysation and excuse to intently listen to these songs again and again.

The falling petals of the cherry blossoms even celebrated the beauty of ‘Wilder Mind’ like confetti around me as I listened again on a walk home, and I realised that this album is in fact a flawless compilation of songs that will stay with and comfort me for a long time to come.

Mumford ar mo Shon

Mumford ar mo Shon
-An t-aireachas (mindfulness) sa saol linn inniu

Ní rún atá ann go bhfuil bá faoi leith agam don ghrúpa ceoil Mumford and Sons. Is le linn an tsamhraidh i 2013 a cheannaigh mé ticéad ar DoneDeal.com do cheolchoirm dá gcuid a bhí ar siúl i bPáirc an Fhionnuisce ar an turas ‘Gentlemen of the Road’ in éineacht le Ben Howard, Ham Sandwich, agus Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, agus níl mórán nach raibh ar an eolas ag an am go raibh mé ar bís faoi.

Faraor, buíochas le hansmacht uilíoch an idirlíon, agus easpa taithí ar mo shonsa i dtaobh úsáid leithéid shuíomhanna, diúltaíodh isteach mé ag na ngeataí bonnoibrithe toisc nár thicéad cuí a bhí agam. Ag siúl ar ais in aghaidh an easa, na mílte daoine ar a mbealach isteach don cheolchoirm is mé liom fhéin ina gcoinne, bheartaigh mé gan mhuinín a chuir in aon suíomh idirlíne nó grúpa taobh amuigh den chóras oifigiúla ariamh arís. Ag mallachtú an saol agus an fear slítheanta ar cheannaigh mé an ticéad uaidh, d’éist mé leis an gceol ag taiscéal tríd an aer do m’chluasa is mé ag fanacht ar bhus abhaile.

Ó shin, níl rud ar bith ceannaithe agam ar líne a bhain le tríú páirtí nó ‘fear sa lár’, mar a deirtear. Scaití is in ionad na táillí breise a íocadh a gceannaítear na ticéadaí seo, nó chun brábus a dhéanamh nuair atá ceolchoirmeacha díolta amach, ach i ndáiríre is minic a bhíonn costas níos mó ag baint leis an sealbhú a dhéanamh thar cheann de na suíomhanna seo chun go ndéanfar brábús ar an táirge. Ní ar an tomhaltóir atá na mangairí seo ag díriú, ach orthu féin agus ar na féidireachtaí atá ann dóibh – an t-airgead atá le baint ó lucht leanúna na ngrúpaí ceoil seo ag iarraidh ticéad a fháil ar aon chostas. Go pointe, is dúshaothrú ar an ngnáthduine atá ar siúl acu, agus dar ndóigh ní ceart go mbeadh an féidirtheacht sin ann dóibh. Dom fhéin, tuigim nár cheart dom dul sa tseans mar sin arís agus muinín a chur le rud nach bhfuil aon bharántas nó chinnteacht ag baint leis, ach ag an am níor éist mé le m’instinn agus réasún, comh fíanta sin a bhí an fonn ionam an grúpa a fheicéail.

An uair sin bhí an locht orm nár fhiosraigh mé tuilleadh eolais ón bhfear a bhí á dhíol. Chas mé leis i Leamhcán, thug mé an t-airgead dó, thug sé an píosa páipéir dom (droch-chomhartha dá bhfeicfeá ceann riamh) agus as go brách leis ina Fiat Punto beag glas. Bhí mé comh sásta liom fhéin gur éirigh liom ticéad a fháil nár lig mé liom fhéin smaoineamh a dhéanamh ar na laigí atá soléir dom anois ag cuimhneadh siar. Ach mairimid uilig ó ard go haird, agus ba chúis sealadach an ticéad sin dom a bheith ar bís agus ag súil le rud eicínt faoi leith – cé gur ceannaíodh é gan mhórán pleanála a dhéanamh ar.
Ní dhearna na ‘Gentleman of the Road’ turas an bhliain seo chaite, agus i mbliana níl siad ag síneadh comh fada le hÉireann leis an bhfiontar. Ach ón méid atá cloiste agam d’albam nua Mumford and Sons go dtí seo, is cosúil go bhfuil draíocht d’shaghas eicínt eile ag druidim linn, agus má’s fíor sin táim go breá le bheith ag feitheamh ar an gcéad ghig eile. In amhrán amháin nua, ‘Snake Eyes’ s’acu, tá líne amháin a mhíníonn go mbeidh baol i gcónaí ag baint le rudaí den tsórt seo – ‘I can tell, you will always be danger’. Is orainn atá an brú a bheith ar an airdeall maidir leis na nithe beaga ag baint leo, agus gan dul amú is muid sa tóir orthu.

An t-aireachas atá tábhachtach sa chás seo – a bheith aireach ar an saol agus ar ár n-aigne agus inchinn féin, ár gcosa ar an talamh fúinn agus ár n-aird dírithe ar an nóiméad atá ann i láthair na huaire. B’fhéidir dá mbeadh an meon seo agam is mé ag dul leis an ticéad a bhailiú an lá sin, dá mbéinn ar an airdeall maidir leis an nóiméad sin ar thug mé an t-airgead dó, seans ann nach mbeadh gá leis an tubáiste ag na geataí iontrála. B’fhéidir. Scaití bíonn orainn botúin a dhéanamh agus ceachtanna a fhoghlaim ar an gcaoi seo ionas nach ndéanfar arís iad, agus le fírinne glacaim anois go raibh orm an botún sin a dhéanamh. Níor éirigh liom dul isteach sa cheolchoirm, ach bualadh go láidir mé le ciall agus soléireacht maidir leis an méid a bhí tárlaithe is mé ar an tsiúlóid sin amach ó na geataí. Bhí mé ann ag siúl, seachas a bheith ag smaoineamh ró-fhada romham nó i mo dhiaidh, agus cé go raibh brón orm ag cailliúnt amach ar an gceolchoirm, bhí mé lonnaithe sa nóiméad sin ag smaoineamh faoi, agus bheartaigh mé gan dul chomh fada sin ó m’inchinn fhéin leis an idéalachas riamh arís.

‘Cíbe áit ina bhfuil tú, is ann atá tú”.