Mumford and Sons’ Believe ★★★

I don’t even know if I believe…everything you’re trying to say to me’

GIMMICKY, LOST, and full of predictable, cliched lyrics, it is not a great start to the Mumford and Sons new album.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a Mumford and Sons fan. Take a trip down memory lane and our ears are blessed by the seemingly revolutionary sounds (in the UK at least) of a take on American folk music; banjos, pianos, guitars, cellos, violins allowing for the band to play with iconic musical stars such as Arcade Fire, Beirut, Johnny Flynn and the Vaccines. Famed for their trademark songs containing soft acoustic beginnings that crescendo into an explosion of wonderfully collaborated acoustic sounds, their newest song ‘Believe’ shows a deviation away from their norm…and what a disappointment.

There is a risk for an artist to become a one-trick pony if they don’t experiment with other genres. But what if that pony’s trick is so magnificent that people love watching it over and over again, like listening to Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ on repeat, or watching any Liam Neeson film – they are good at what they do and people enjoy them consistently. Artists establish themselves based on their mastery over a specific and focussed genre. Mumford and Sons’ charm was created through their mastery of folk, Marcus’s unique voice and the very fact that electricity did not feature in their songs.

‘Believe’ strips Mumford and Sons of their previous appeal. Indeed, the surge of artists and bands who have donned a ‘no-electric’ approach to their music might have spurred Mumford and Sons to adopt the electric guitars and relatively synthesised voice in a bid to differentiate themselves; however, the band had produced two very good albums with just raw instruments and vocals, and are famed for it – why change? I am not anti-electric and I feel, when done well, it sounds great – the likes of Radiohead, Dire Straits and Led Zeppelin (the artists who inspired Mumford and Sons new sound) all create inspirational music based on the electric guitar. However, this first song of the (former?) folk band hasn’t hit point, either lyrically or musically.

The band have said that they were always leading towards an electronic approach; but Mumford and Sons are going to need a hidden gem in the Wilder Mind album in order to prove that they can make the genre work for them.

A band established and famed for folk music taking a turn to electronic is a massive risk. This first song hasn’t worked well for them, but with an entire album still to come, lets hope the originality, charm and intricacies of the former Mumford and Sons can come into the fore.

 

Neighbourhood Noise guide to Field Day

(header and feature photo courtesy of Carolina Faruolo) 

I KNOW we are still in February, and whilst we don’t like to wish away our time, the sun is beginning to peek through here at the Neighbourhood Noise HQ and we can’t help but get a little excited for what is promising to be a musically magical Summer 2015, kicking off with London Field Day Festival.

Field Day 2015 tickets have been released and the line-up is the best yet. Amongst the clutter of UK festivals, Field Day is set to be the haut monde’s favourite. It’s the weekend in the summer where everyone who lives in Hackney and the surrounding E8 neighborhoods descend on Victoria Park – if you’re from these parts of London, then make sure to buy a ticket to Field Day, if not for the line up, then for avoiding a massive case of FOMO when you smell other’s sweet ciders, see the splash of colour on the streets outside, the cycling dj’s on London Fields, and the incredible music erupting from Victoria Park.  If you’re from outside of this hipster membrane, the charm of Victoria Park and the incredible talent gracing it will certainly draw you in.

The first day of the weekend doesn’t hold back. Caribou, Ben Klock, Kindness, not to mention FKA Twigs are to name a few that are playing on Saturday 6th June. These are serious acts. Caribou stormed last year (see our Pitchfork Paris review) and is headlining Saturday; Brit nominee FKA Twigs is also performing and judging from her recent performance at the Roundhouse, she is one seductive R&B act that we are extremely excited for. Along with the coolness of Kindness and the sisterly London trio Jagaara, what we are most looking forward to are Berghain residents Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock. These two are reigning the techno scene and if you haven’t been fortunate enough to experience their set at the Berghain (what with the inverted and sporadic entry requirements of this Berlin powerhouse) then you are in for a rare electro treat here.

***Caution*** –  deciding whether to party on through the night with the many DJ’s playing after Saturday’s daytime line-up, not to mention the surrounding after parties, is at your discretion and fully advised…if you can hack doing it all again the next day…

For, Sunday 7th June, Field Day’s line-up is looking just as good, if not better than the day before. Usually, the Sunday has been a bit of a ‘take it or leave it day’, and although Sunday has always been the more chilled day of the festival, being on form this year for the 70’s inspired Allah-Las would be recommended. We’ve been desperate to see them live for two years and to much avail we have not been so fortunate. Hearing they were playing at Field Day though has got us revved up for the Sunday with ‘Worship The Sun’ being one of our favourite albums of last year. It’s sun driven, hazy, dream-like style has progressed even further in this album; although still preferring their first self-titled album ‘Allah-Las’, the second album does not disappoint, and to see this live, slightly hung-over, on a music high and, hopefully, with the heat of the sun beating down, this sounds like an ideal way to spend our Sunday.

Field Day has always had some sort of musical legend grace their Sunday stage and this year it is none other than the singer, poet, artist and style icon Patti Smith. This remarkably talented and inspirational lady has been on our all time list of artists to see and thanks to the genius programming, Field Day is fulfilling one of our dream gigs. From listening to her music, mimicking her style, reading her memoir at least once a year “Just Kids”, words can’t describe how momentous it will be for us and every local artist to see her live. This is a woman who hung out with Janis Joplin, co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen and received musical advice from Jimi Hendrix. She lived in the artistry hustle of New York experiencing the beat, hipster life that us artists now aspire to. She is literate, informed and passionate about her craft and the message she delivers and she will be showcasing this all on our very own doorstep.

Step down please we have a winner. Neighbourhood Noise’s Field Day 2015 coverage begins now.

 

Anticipation: 9/10

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Panama Red at The Gladstone Arms, Borough ★★★★

(Images courtesy of: www.kaamilah-nahaboo.com)

(Images courtesy of: http://www.kaamilah-nahaboo.com)

‘When you closed your eyes, you could have been anywhere.’

THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF PANAMA RED. And the audience that packed out the downstairs of this hidden pub in the heart of Borough firmly shared this belief.

With pints in hand and Pieminster pies (worth a trip, even if it’s just for one of these) on every table, you would have rightly thought you were in a quiet London pub on a Tuesday. But as 9 o’clock struck and the lights went down, we were grabbed by the scruff of the neck and thrown into the middle of an Arizona evening, driving fast with the top down, aiming right for Hollywood.

Hollywood was the peak of Panama Red’s seven-song set; a catchy track that got the audience going, who loved every note, ever since the first string was plucked.

For forty-five minutes, Panama Red filled The Glad with a timeless, relaxed sound, created effortlessly by this quintet, whose vocals rolled off each other just as easily as each of their songs rolled into the next. Purple Bees was a fan favourite, with some demanding it twice. Regulars of The Glad seemed to enjoy hearing a band with a lap steel; Joe Harvey-Whyte caressed it with great panache, bringing a rich country sound to the end of every guitar riff.

The Glad has hosted big names in the past (Ellie Goulding, Noah and the Whale), and Panama Red certainly did not look out of place here. The venue is big enough to get a good crowd in, yet small enough to retain an intimacy between the audience and band. At intervals, Joe Harvey-Whyte asked after the fans, speaking between songs to involve the crowd who were more than happy to respond. Such a relaxed stage presence put everyone at ease – not only could you almost touch the band, you could almost certainly enjoy a pint with them after the gig.

(Images courtesy of: www.kaamilah-nahaboo.com)

(Images courtesy of: http://www.kaamilah-nahaboo.com)

One would-be fan remarked, “I’m here because I just love their name”. However, in their fifth live gig, Panama Red are quickly showing that there are several strings to their bow.

Panama Red are residents at The Glad every Tuesday this November:

 

For further updates check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/panamaredlondon?fref=ts