Mumford & Sons, Babel (Glassnote)
The sophomore album from the English quartet follows closely in the stylistic footsteps of the band's huge 2010 debut. Frontman Marcus Mumford and his colleagues don't change up the winning recipe that made the last album such a head-turner: once again, there's the prominent banjo, the kinetic energy, the spiritual although sometimes impenetrable lyrics. The foot-stomping and fist-pumping of their sound is equal parts Avett Brothers, The Pogues, and U2. A difficult band to write about, the arena-ready grandeur of their music are similar to a UFO sighting or a religious epiphany: description can't possibly substitute for experience.