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Sound Check

5/13/2015

Mumford & SonsMumford and Sons
“Wilder Mind”
Gentlemen of the Road/Island

Two words drew me to the new Mumford & Sons offering: “no banjo.” For all but the most ardent folk fans, the frantic banjo and double bass attack of 2012’s “Babel” came on a little strong. Even the band’s biggest fans admitted to a little fatigue by album’s end. “Wilder Mind,” then, comes on less like a continuation and more like a complete re-invention. Mumford & Sons is electrified now, trading the banjos for Fenders, and the double bass for double stacks. The result is astounding. The title track comes off sounding like some mid-career Tom Petty, while first single “Believe” dances more in the middle of a Killers/Coldplay style. The transition from Americana acoustic to electric rock is a surprisingly simple one to make, but to do it well is a testament to Marcus Mumford’s songwriting abilities and his band mates’ talents. CV

 

Snoop DoggSnoop Dogg
“BUSH”
Doggystyle

The first thing you will notice about “BUSH” — maybe the most surprising thing — is right there on the front cover. Or rather it is not: the album comes without a Parental Advisory sticker. The squeaky-clean delivery is part of a strange progression for Snoop, coming on the heels of 2013’s foray into reggae, “Reincarnated.” While it would not be correct to say that “BUSH” is exactly family friendly, it is certainly the most widely accessible thing Snoop has ever put out. This is thanks in large part to the production work of Pharrell Williams, who, in the eyes of white America, is to music what Wayne Brady is to comedy. “BUSH” features some admittedly sexy beats and hooks. It is, however, counterbalanced by some average lyrical work on Snoop’s part. So how much mileage you get out of “BUSH” will depend largely on how you listen to it. Listen to the lyrics too hard, and you are bound to tire of it quickly. Use it as some funky background music, and it will stick around for a while. CV

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