First Reflections on Delta

Passion and fear. Fear and passion. Twin emotions that permeate Delta, the new album from Mumford & Sons, which is released today.

Marcus Mumford and his bandmates have produced a sonic tour-de-force that will take multiple listens to unveil the depths of the lyrical exploration into the human condition. For someone like me, far more interested in lyrics than the music that accompanies them, this record is a feast. (Sadly though, a feast without a lyric sheet – and when I checked the album was so new there were no lyrics available online.)

The songs weave through themes of love, death, redemption, faith and alienation, leaving the listener to wonder about the meaning of life. Mumford doesn’t so much offer answers as give hints as to a brighter future. “You say the sun doesn’t shine for you. I hope you learn that that’s not true. In time.”

There are questions: “What if I need you in my darkest hour?” “Forgiveness begs itself; but how can I forget?”

There is doubt: “The fear of what’s to come has been crippling me.” “What if it turns out there is no other?”

There is acceptance: “She says the Lord has a plan, but admits it is pretty hard to understand.” “In you I have no doubt when the chaos crowds me out.”

There is challenge: “My words are empty vessels if I do nothing in this place.”

There are echoes of The Bible and a reading from Paradise Lost to heighten the spiritual message. Overall, Delta has the feel of a worship record, though most Christian probably wouldn’t see it that way. Not surprising when you consider that the band’s roots as a church worship team.

Delta comes out today, but I received my copy yesterday. I have had time to listen to it a couple of times through and  I expect to return to it frequently, hearing something new each time that will cause me to pause and consider the message.

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