Take Mumford and Sons and add some scuzzy guitar and drum machine, and you’ve got Judah and the Lion.
They’re big in the States — the single Take It All Back (on here as Take It All Back 2) was top of the US alternative charts for ages. Given that our own inventors of this sector of folk/rock are currently silent, Judah and the Lion are presumably hoping to cash in.
Unless you vehemently dislike the sound of the Mumfords at their best, you’re going to like this. There’s plenty of melody, banjos and mandolins but there’s also the swirling background noise of guitars and synths, and a hip hop influence. They use the banjos more as solo instruments, too; whereas Mumfords strummed the melody, Jonah’s gang have more fiddly parts, probably reflecting a bluegrass/hillbilly background.
This is particularly true in Conversations, the oldest (and perhaps most complex) song on the record. Take It All Back is out in the UK as a single; it’s a simple song with shouty sections for the crowd, self-referential lyrics and it reminded us of Noah And The Whale (Come to think, where DID Judah and the Lion get their name from?).