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If we know anything about Mumford & Sons’ fourth studio album, Delta, it’s that there’s so much that we just don’t know. We’ve gotten a multitude of details, but one overarching question remains: What’s Mumford & Sons’ latest sound?
The band’s keyboard player Ben Lovett posed a similar question in a September interview with Rolling Stone: “What is it that Mumford & Sons do? That’s what we are searching for. I really hope this record will continue to broaden the sense of what that means.”
Let’s break down what we do know about the album so far.
The Release Date
Delta is set to be released on Nov. 16 through Gentlemen of the Road/Glassnote Records.
The Recording Process
The album was recorded at The Church Studios in London with producer Paul Epworth, who’s worked with artists including Adele, Rihanna, U2 and Frank Ocean, amongst several others. The band recorded over 25 songs with Epworth and were insistent on a collaborative process, much like their live shows and their 2016 EP Johannesburg. Marcus Mumford has shared that much of the album was recorded in sessions with friends, in which the group would play music, “smoke cigarettes and have a great time,” according to the aforementioned RS interview. Around 100 people would get involved in these sessions, with some being featured on the record, including American singer-songwriters Maggie Rogers (with whom the band is touring) and Gill Landry.
On their third album, 2015’s Wilder Mind, Mumford & Sons hung up their signature banjos for alt-rock guitars. Their move towards a more electric sound divided their fan base, but marked the band’s keen interest in exploration—and not wedding themselves to any one particular sound.
For their next album, the band has brought back the acoustic instruments from their first two albums, including Winston Marshall’s beloved banjo (cue the cheers!). Except this time, Epworth has put them through various production effects, rendering the instruments almost unrecognizable.
“The first records, we had restrictions on ourselves just from what the instruments we had on tour were, and when we were writing it was on tour, so we didn’t have much time to delve into the studio,” Mumford said during a BBC Radio 1 interview with Annie Mac. “The third album we put some boundaries, but on this record it felt like there have been no boundaries creatively.”
The Lyrical Content
Much of the music on Delta is concerned with what Lovett refers to as “the four Ds: death, divorce, drugs and depression,” all of which have been more prevalent in the group’s lives since 2015. The band has avoided discussing specifics publicly, but in recent years, Ted Dwane underwent brain surgery, Marshall got married and Mumford became a father.
“We’ve all been much closer to birth and death, which both feel fucking wild to me, and most of the songs have been written about things like that,” Mumford explained to RS. “It has to feel like an honest emotion. We’re going to sing these songs for the rest of our lives as a band and, if it doesn’t feel real, then there’s no point.”
So far, Mumford & Sons have released two singles off Delta, “Guiding Light” and “If I Say,” the first of which was accompanied by a brand new music video.
For the full tracklist, see below:
02. Guiding Light
05. The Wild
06. October Skies
07. Slip Away
08. Rose of Sharon
09. Picture You
10. Darkness Visible
11. If I Say
12. Wild Heart
To promote the album, Mumford & Sons will embark on an expansive, 63-date worldwide tour next month. The stint will feature a new in-the-round stage design; that being said, the inventive rearrangement feels natural for long-time Mumford concert-goers, who are familiar with the band’s penchant for performing a few quiet songs near the set’s close immersed in the crowd. The band’s largest tour to date, the Delta Tour includes over 800,000 tickets.
For full tour dates and a Mumford performance from the Paste archives, see below, and stay tuned for any updates on Delta.
Mumford & Sons Tour Dates:
16 – Dublin, Ireland @ 3 Arena
18 – Belfast, Ireland @ SSE Arena
20 – Glasgow, Scotland @ SSE Hydro
21- Manchester, U.K. @ Manchester Arena
23 – Birmingham, U.K. @ Genting Arena
24 – Sheffield, U.K. @ Fly DSA Arena
25 – Newcastle, U.K. @ Metro Radio Arena
27 – Nottingham, U.K. @ Motorpoint Arena
28 – Cardiff, U.K. @ Motorpoint Arena
29 – London, U.K. @ O2 Arena
01 – Leeds, U.K. @ First Direct Arena
02 – Liverpool, U.K. @ Echo Arena
07 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Wells Fargo Center
09 – Boston, Mass. @ TD Garden
10 – New York, N.Y. @ Madison Square Garden
11 – New York, N.Y. @ Madison Square Garden
14 – Washington DC @ Capital One Arena
17 – Toronto, Ontario @ Scotiabank Arena
18 – Toronto, Ontario @ Scotiabank Arena
12 – Auckland, New Zealand @ The Outer Fields at Western Springs
15 – Brisbane, Australia @ Entertainment Centre
18 – Sydney, Australia @ Qudos Bank Arena
22 – Melbourne, Australia @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl
23 – Melbourne, Australia @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl
24 – Adelaide, Australia @ Entertainment Centre
27 – Perth, Australia @ RAC Arena
27 – Providence, R.I. @ Dunkin Donuts Center
28 – Hartford, Conn. @ XL Center
02 – Albany, N.Y. @ Times Union Center
04 – Montreal, Quebec @ Bell Centre
05 – Ottawa, Ontario @ Canadian Tire Center
08 – Buffalo, N.Y. @ KeyBank Center
09 – Cleveland, Ohio @ Quicken Loans Arena
11 – Columbus, Ohio @ Nationwide Arena
12 – Lexington, Ky. @ Rupp Arena
14 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ PPG Paints Arena
16 – Charlottesville, Va. @ John Paul Jones Arena
17 – Raleigh, N.C. @ PNC Arena
18 – Charleston, S.C. @ North Charleston Coliseum
20 – Atlanta, Ga. @ State Farm Arena
22 – Nashville, Tenn. @ Bridgestone Arena
23 – Birmingham, Ala. @ Legacy Arena at The BJCC
25 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ Bankers Life Field House
27 – Detroit, Mich. @ Little Caesars Arena
29 – Chicago, Ill. @ United Center
30 – Madison, Wis. @ Kohl Center
31 – Milwaukee, Wis. @ Fiserv Forum
25 – Lisbon, Portugal @ Altice Arena
27 – Barcelona, Spain @ Palau Sant Jordi
29 – Milan, Italy @ Medialanum Forum
01 – Munich, Germany @ Olympiahalle
03 – Vienna, Austria @ Stadthalle
05 – Basel, Switzerland @ St. Jakobshalle
07 – Paris, France @ Zenith
08 – Luxembourg, Luxembourg @ Rockhal
09 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Ziggo Dome
11 – Berlin, Germany @ Mercedes Benz Arena
13 – Frankfurt, Germany @ Festhalle
15 – Cologne, Germany @ Lanxess Arena
17 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Royal Arena
18 – Gothenburg, Sweden @ Scandinavium
19 – Oslo, Norway @ Spektrum
21 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Ericsson Globe