Babel, by Mumford & Sons

Not since U2 has a pop music act with decidedly Christian leanings generated as much discussion, derision and delight as Mumford and Sons. “Little Lion Man” (from the double-platinum Sigh No More in 2010) may mark the first rock radio hit to drop the F-bomb prominently in the chorus. It’s often hard to tell whether the band is advancing folk music traditions or simply plundering them. And a legendary rock DJ recently dismissed the platinum-­selling British quartet as “Hootie and the Blowfish with banjos.”

Yet listeners eager for an alternative to hipster pessimism and hit radio stagnation are sticking by the Mumford boys—and finding some substance there. “I Will Wait” is a sublime anthem that would make Bono proud, nothing less than a pop music psalm that aches for grace: “These days of dust, which we’ve known / Will blow away with this new sun / But I’ll kneel down, wait for now / And I’ll kneel down, know my ground.”

 

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