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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Mumford & Sons, Insane Clown Posse, Ciara, My Morning Jacket

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2015

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Mumford & Sons

"Wilder Mind"


Grade: B+

Mumford & Sons clearly doesn't believe in gradual change. After two albums that established the British quartet as vanguards of a new acoustic/roots music movement, the group has plugged in the electric instruments for a full-on rock album that will not doubt be polarizing -- although if it was presented to the world as a new, or different band rather than Mumford & Sons it would likely be lauded for its melodic popcraft and taut dynamics. "Wilder Mind" is certainly as convincing as either of its predecessors, blasting off with the New Wave energy of "Tompkins Square Park" and filling the single "Believe" with the kind of thundering drum attack that would make Imagine Dragons proud. There's plenty of dynamic range throughout the dozen tracks, too, from the high-octane blast-off of "The Wolf" to the easy grooves of the title track and "Ditmas" and "Monster" and the gradual build to a epic conclusions on "Broad-Shouldered Beasts" and "Only Love." There's a dark countenance throughout; Marcus Mumford may declare that "only love will be there in the end," but rest assured that getting there has plenty of bumps, bruises and other traumas. But that's just park of makes "Wilder Mind" a winning and wild, if unexpected, ride.

New & Noteworthy:

Ciara, "Jackie" (Epic): The R&B singer's first release since the birth of her son includes a collaboration with Pitbull and Missy Elliott on the song "That's How I'm Feelin'."

Insane Clown Posse, "The Marvelous Missing Link (Lost)" (Psychopathic): The Detroit duo has guerilla-released its latest set, the first of a two-part outing asking tough questions about life and redemption.

John Lodge, "10,000 Light Years Ago" (Esoteric): The Moody Blues bassist's first solo album in 38 years features a reunion with ex-bandmates Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas on the track "Simply Magic."

My Morning Jacket, "The Waterfall" (ATO/Capitol): The Louisville rockers return after a four-year break, enveloped in the psychedelic vibe of the Panoramic House studio in northern California where they recorded the album.

Chris Stapleton, "Traveller" (Mercury Records Nashville): The debut artist album from the Kentucky country songwriter who's penned hits for Kenny Chesney, Darius Rucker, George Strait, Luke Bryan and others.

The Word, "Soul Food" (Vanguard): The second album and first in 14 years from the all-star roots assemblage of the North Mississippi Allstars, Robert Randolph and John Medeski.

Also Out: Jeff Beck, "LIve +" (Atco/Rhino); Best Coast, "California Nights" (Harvest); James Burton, Albert Lee, Amos Garrett and David Wilcox, "Guitar Heroes" (Stony Plain); Mikal Cronin, "MCIII" (Merge) Ivan & Alyosha, "It's All Just Pretend" (Dualtone); Hiatus Kaiyote, "Choose Your Weapon" (Sony Masterworks); Boney James, "Futuresoul" (Concord); Kamelot, "Haven" (Napalm); Annie Lennox, "Nostalgia: An Evening with Annie Lennox" (Blue Note); Shelby Lynne, "I Can't Imagine" (Rounder); Mandolin Orange, "Such Jubilee" (Yep Roc); Other LIves, "Rituals" (TBD); Plumb, "Exhale" (Curb); Pompeya, "Real" (No Shame); The Proclaimers, "Let's Hear It For the Dogs" (Compass); Todd Rundgren, Hans Peter Lindstrom and Emil Nikokaisen, "Rundanns" (Smalltown Supersound); Alejandro Sanz, "Sirope" (Universal Music Latino); Satyricon, "Live at the Opera" (Napalm); Six Feet Under, "Crypt of the Devil" (Metal Blade); The Suffers, "Make Some Room" (Rhyme and Reason); Otis Taylor, "Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat" (Trance Blues Festival); Tech N9ne, "Special Effects" (Strange Music); Torres, "Sprinter" (Partisan); Unleashed, "Dawn of the Nine" (Nuclear Blast); Various Artists, "Now 54: That's What I Call Music" (UMe)

From The Vaults: Jackie DeShannon, "All The Love -- The Lost Atlantic Recordings" (Real Gone); In This Moment, "Rise of Blood Legion -- Greatest Hits" (Century Media); Jethro Tull, "Minstrel in the Gallery: 40th Anniversary La Grande Edition" (Parlophone/Rhino); Santana, "LIve at the Bottom Line 1978" (All Access)

Soundtracks: Mark Isham, "The Longest Ride" (Milan); Original Cast Recording, "Hansel & Gretel: A Wickedly Delicious Musical Treat" (Carpet Square); Various Artists, "Bloodborne" (Sony Computer Entertainment); Various Artists, "The D Train" (Lakeshore digital)

New Music DVDs: Annie Lennox, "An Evening of Nostalgia..." (Blue Note)

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