On Mumford & Sons' Unceremonious Split With Banjo


Mumford & Sons have officially left the West London folk scene sound and entered into mainstream music with their newest single, "Believe."

This week, members of their fan club received an email encouraging them to download their newest hit or to stream it on YouTube or Spotify, but to many of their fans' dismay, Banjo has left the band.

Apparently Banjo was not invited to participate in creating the group's newest album, Wilder Mind, which will be released by Glassnote Records in May. Instead, the instrument's strong presence has been replaced with an electric guitar to give the band a more popular sound that rivals the likes of Coldplay and Keane. After being involved with the band during both of their Grammy nominations, 2009's Sigh No More and 2012's Babel, which won album of the year, the dismissal of Banjo seems very sudden.

Mumford and Sons have reportedly said that the band did not want to make a Babel II, and that Wilder Mind would be a "significant departure" from their previous sound.

Photo by Ungry Young Man via Flickr
Confirmed Banjo Encounter: Vienna, March 2013

Upon listening to "Believe," Banjo is clearly missed. The newest hit does not have the solid, hard thump of previous songs like "Little Lion Man" or "Babel." Rather, Marcus Mumford's voice has become central to pacing the ethereal beginning of "Believe" during his continuous epistemological questioning of truth.

Mumford continues his philosophical questioning until the electric guitar enters in and causes him to beg another to "Say something, say something/ Something like you love me/ Less you want to move away/ From the noise of this place." Mumford's raw voice is paired with an atmospheric guitar to illuminate the song's climax; however, the use of guitar is not quite as hard-hitting or stimulating as the use of Banjo on the previous albums.


In speaking to Banjo, he says he is still struggling to understand why the band decided to change directions. Apparently, the only explanation Marcus has offered Banjo thus far is "it was not your fault, but mine." After participating in the New Basement Tapes collaboration, Mumford was ready to try his hand at something new that would no longer include Banjo.

Meanwhile, Banjo hopes to perform with Mumford & Sons at Bonnaroo and on the "Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers" tour. If he is does not join Mumford and Sons on tour, he is currently in talks with Kermit the Frog and also negotiating with wild and crazy guy, Steve Martin.

Mumford & Sons. With Dawes, The Flaming Lips, Jenny Lewis, My Morning Jacket, and more. Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20 at Wartburg College Athletics Field in Waverly, Iowa.

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