Last year I put Mumford & Sons’ debut record Sigh No More atop my ‘best of the year’ list, and I haven’t changed my mind in the meantime. I have returned to it again and again, and I continue to find new things in it.
Of late I have been listening with increasing appreciation to the record’s final song, “After the Storm”. I have remarked before on the spiritual vitality of the record as a whole, and this song is a good example. It is poised between earth and heaven, a quiet hymn of a broken heart longing for the beauty and peace of a kingdom not subject to death. “Death is just too full, and man too small. / I’m scared of what’s behind, and what’s before“, he sings, but then a gently lilting melody emerges, like a balm on the heart:
There’ll come a time, you’ll see
With no more tears
And love will not break your heart
But dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see
What you find there
With grace in your heart
And flowers in your hair.
It’s a lovely image on which to end an excellent song and a fine album. Here is Marcus Mumford in a live performance: