Dharohar Project, Laura Marling, And Mumford & Sons EP
Critics of Mumford & Sons—and there are plenty—pick on the group for, as Pitchfork aptly put it, “playing dress-up in threadbare clothes.” The group’s detractors question the veracity of its aw-shucks enthusiasm and perceived depth, though all the while, the band is making bank touring the world. So when the group grabbed Marcus Mumford’s girlfriend Laura Marling (an amazing artist in her own right) and headed to India to make a joyful noise with the Dharohar Project, a Rajasthani folk group, the intentions seemed a little dubious. The groups probably had a great time making the collaborative EP that resulted, and, like, totally vibing, man, but that doesn’t excuse the iffy musicality of the whole thing. Tracks drag on, like when Mumford riffs over a raga on “To Darkness/Kripa,” or on the strikingly similar “Anmol Rishtey.” Marling’s vocals bring a little freshness to “Devil’s Spoke/Sneh Ko Marg” and “Mehendi Rachi,” but overall, the record is a derivative mess. It might be incredibly authentic, but somehow, in the midst of an army of flying sitars, it feels oddly lifeless.