The lowdown: Mumford & Sons

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James Manning tells you everything you need to know about the West London yokels

  • Sofa so good: Mumford’s made millions, but won’t splash out on a new couch Sofa so good: Mumford’s made millions, but won’t splash out on a new couch - © Rebecca Miller

    Age

    Marcus Mumford is 25. The band formed in 2007.

  • Sounds like

    Twiddle-diddle-diddle... That’s band member ‘Country’ Winston Marshall’s banjo, the most divisive sound in contemporary music. Add kick drum, trumpets, pianos and earnest vocal harmonies for a Mumford hoedown.

  • Origins

    These four young farmhands met in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl in 1932. Nah – Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane used to pitch up to Marshall’s folk night on the King’s Road. They eventually clustered around Mumford.

  • Significance

    Thanks to a killer combination of heartfelt country-boy bluster and canny public-school business sense, Mumford & Sons have rapidly fiddled their way to the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, attracting a huge fanbase – and an equally massive backlash.

  • High point

    They’ve picked up plenty of awards, outsold Adele, jammed with Bruce Springsteen and played to Barack Obama at a White House dinner. Oh, and Mumford married Carey Mulligan this year.

  • Low point

    The ‘I Hate Mumford & Sons’ Facebook group would argue that everything these ‘treacherous banjo bastards’ do is a low point. The banjo aside, haters get particularly vexed about the band’s faux-Steinbeck shtick and Mumford’s big, perma-smug face (above right).

  • Legacy

    By proving that where there’s folk there’s brass, the Sons have opened doors for Of Monsters And Men, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers and even The Staves – an extended Mumford family that shows no sign of laying down its fiddles any time soon.

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