QuickTakes

Hatchet Arts looks at British indie-folk and Foggy Bottom blues.

“Sigh No More”

Mumford & Sons

Indie-folk band Mumford and Sons’ debut album, “Sigh No More,” is sure to entice its listeners with its passionate lyrics and fast-paced instrumentals.

The band wastes no time drawing the audience into its world of tension and heartbreak. On the album’s first track, lead singer Marcus Mumford pleads, “I’m sorry,” leaving the listener entranced by Mumford’s harsh but melodic yearning. Mumford’s aggressive and angst-ridden vocals expand on songs like “White Blank Page” and “The Cave.”

Mumford & Sons display its most interesting instrumental and vocal harmonies on the single “Little Lion Man.” Here, Mumford’s quick and upbeat banjo part leads the song among an already commanding percussion section and bass line.

Still, Mumford & Sons lose sight of its catchy yearning on tracks like “I Gave You All;” the band’s tempo slows and Mumford’s voice is drawn out, leaving the listener wondering where all the passion went.

The band recovers from the sudden loss of life, however, on “Awake My Soul,” where the group rediscovers its steady drumbeats and catchy banjo rhythms that distinguished its sound on earlier tracks. By the end of “Dust Bowl Dance,” the group culminates into a cacophony of varying instrumentals. Although the listener can barely differentiate between the guitar, drums, piano, and bass, one cannot help but be entranced by the sheer emotion exuded.

On the final track, “After the Storm,” Mumford allows a steady guitar and mandolin to guide his voice as he sings: “There will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears. And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.” As the song dwindles to an end, the listener can finally rest easy knowing that Marcus Mumford has found comfort in looking ahead to the future and better days.


“Pulp!”

Plumsucker

Although they have been branded “experimental,” GW duo Plumsucker presents fairly straightfoward, no-holds-barred blues and rock on their debut EP, “Pulp!” The EP’s sound overall has an impromptu, “in-the-room” feel to it, like someone just happened to hit “record” during a jam session. You can hear traces of Led Zeppelin and The Raconteurs in the lead-off track “Bronze Gateway Song,” from singer Andrew McInerney’s raw, scratchy vocals and fuzzy guitar to drummer José Ginarte’s basic but tight percussion. “Lots of Pulp,” the EP’s second song, starts off as a mellow, deconstructed blues tune, complete with hand claps and understated acoustic guitar, but builds gradually into a steady, chugging rocker. The third and final track, “Living Room,” rounds out the EP nicely as a plain but energetic piece of music. “Pulp!” is a promising first offering from Plumsucker, and it won’t cost you to try it out; it’s available to download for free on the group’s MySpace and Facebook pages.

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