Finger picking into existence like a well-crafted paragraph with a lolling acoustic guitar riff sculpted rather than played, Mumford & Sons’ “The Cave and the Open Sea” immediately announces itself as something to be savoured.
Simplicity, you see, is underrated. Oh sure, playing a banjo at twice the speed of sound while your singer hits three notes above high C is all very impressive, but a sing-along melody and the confidence of subtle good musicianship is much more commendable – and enjoyable.
This single has the latter in abundance, building into a riotous celebration where a menagerie of instruments patiently wait to join the party and add their flourish. Lyrically, it is articulate enough, but musically it is sublime. Grab your work boots and prepare to jigg, because if this comes on and your toes aren’t tapping, then you may as well give up listening to music – you’re rubbish at it.
Words: Jon Severs