Style: Stompy banjo-rock and pastoral Brit-folk; compare to Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire
Top tracks: "Sigh No More," "Winter Winds," "Roll Away Your Stone"
This British foursome, led by ever-sincere singer Marcus Mumford, seems to suddenly be on everyone's you-gotta-hear-this list. Mumford & Sons wear their influences on their sleeves, sometimes too overtly, but that doesn't mean they're not special. The scruffy lads take roots music, bust it out of the barn, and race it down the highway to the nearest city arena. The band avoids the "Christian" tag, but messages of grace, hope and love are patent. The title track begins with "Serve God" and delivers this rallying cry: "Love, it will not betray you / Dismay or enslave you / It will set you free." (Editor's note: There's one f-bomb on the album, in the song, "Little Lion Man.")1