As if returning to form, the album's second track reminisces on the folk background that Mumford fans originally loved. "Guiding Light" seems to be a mesh of the old and new style that the band's sound has evolved into. Furthermore, the song is a beautifully written poem with a flow that never ceases to move forward. The rhythm and ambient sounds play off of each other to progress the sound in wave motions. Yet just as the album starts to take off, the listener settles into a subdued track, "Woman". The flow still progresses, but the vocals are a bit more laid back. Fans of Babel might argue that this is not the hard-hitting Mumford that they loved back in the day, but this song shows that the band has evolved.
For listeners that did not like Wilder Mind but enjoyed the first two Mumford albums, "Beloved" brings back the folk spirit of the band with a banjo at the forefront. This is my favorite song on the album and it's hard to argue that the lyrics don't light up the darkest aspects of our lives. In recent interviews, Marcus has claimed that this song is about him watching his grandmother die. With such a deep lyrical background, it is near impossible to listen to this song in the same way.
"The Wild" leads into the most experimental portion of the album, based mostly around instrumentals. The creation of this nearly 6 minute track shows the versatility of each band member. The whole band contributes to the masterpiece just as they contribute vocal backings on the next track, "October Skies". Clearly Marcus, Winston, Ben, and Ted are capable of working together to create music that they truly believe in.
While Marcus can clearly lead the band in vocals, everyone is a part of every track. In "Slip Away", Marcus takes the lead but every instrument holds weight. The listener would never guess that this album was recorded in a converted Church. The songs are often so heavy that you can imagine stained glass windows shattering under the decibels. The slowed-down riff at the end of "Slip Away" hits the listener's ears, forcing them deeper into the construction of the song.
The second half of the album takes it slow, but always keeps the ambiance heavy. "Picture You" catches a snapshot of the rhyming schemes that Mumford is capable of using to create a warm space. This track flows straight into the least Mumford-esque track that they have ever written. "Darkness Visible" is a full instrumental rock showcase. This sounds more like a Muse song than a Mumford & Sons song. Personally, I love it and will continue to support the ever-changing sound. This would be crazy to see live and I can imagine audiences going nuts as the sound builds and builds and builds.
One of the lead singles for the album follows the hard-hitting track. "If I Say" brings in an orchestral arrangement to fill up the empty space surrounded by Marcus's isolated vocals. The 61 minute long album ends with three beautiful pieces of music. "Wild Heart" is a quieter ballad with lovely guitar backing to accompany Marcus's charming voice. The soundscape opens up more and more as the piece gains momentum. Finally, the band drops us off with the titular track, "Delta". This track is seemingly a culmination of the entire work, with experimentation and folky sounds combined.
Favorite Tracks: "42", "Guiding Light", "Beloved", "Slip Away", "Picture You", "Darkness Visible", "Wild Heart"
Least Favorite Tracks: "Rose of Sharon", "Forever"