Babel (Deluxe Version)
Label: Universal-Island Records Ltd.
This crazy-huge Brit quartet's banjos 'n' bombast formula ain't broke, and their second album thankfully makes no attempt to fix it. Yes, the violently strummed guitars, vowel-heavy earnest-bro harmonizing and bleacher-stomp backbeat are back on Babel, along with Marcus Mumford's thunderous, Bono-esque tales of love and god and general affirmation. ("How I long to grow old!") It's thrilling but exhausting (so much banjo!), which makes the sweet, quiet moments essential, even if they don't last long. "Broken Crown" gets all aggro and f-bomb-y, FYI, but then that's part of the formula, too.