It’s finally here – the long-awaited full-length album from the Icelandic pop-folk group that whetted everyone’s appetite with their EP “Into the Woods” last year. All of the great tracks from that EP are here. But it’s the new pieces that really show the band is capable of consistently capturing that elusive, catchy-poppy sweet spot: beautiful songs with substance that just beg for the repeat button.
Since some of the best songs can be found on the original EP (Little Talks, Six Weeks, Love Love Love, From Finner), check out our review on them here. For now, let’s take a look at the new offerings on “My Head is an Animal”. Many of the new songs here feel like layers of a painting; “Into the Woods” provided a solid foundation for what the band was all about. The new release builds on that, adding even more dimension to the multi-faceted, shimmering sound that is Of Monsters and Men.
Of Monsters and Men’s Dirty Paws
There is much myth embedded in the songs here, and the delicacy with which songs are handled makes them seem almost childlike in their innocence. Lyrically, they have the ability to really tell a story while still keeping the songs tight. The listener will have to pay attention to know what’s going on – the songs are all so melodic and beautiful it’s easy to not even pay attention – Dirty Paws, From Finner and Six Weeks all have stories to tell. We’ll let everyone discover the meanings for themselves.
Mountain Sound will have the listener singing along, just like Little Talks did. It’s also nice to hear even more of what singer Ragnar þórhallsson can do; there seems some more strength from his performances on the album. Female lead Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is just as pure with the vocals as ever, but the songs that showcase them both equally are by far the most dynamic. This newcomer stands a chance at being the most memorable song on the album. Lakehouse has a very rich, powerful sound, with dramatic, soaring melodies and a jubilant beat which only lifts Hilmarsdóttir’s voice higher. This song feels like a continuation of Six Weeks, with the same triumphant march feel- imagine the victorious moment at the end of a long and weary battle.
The band is still breaking hearts too with great one-liners others will wish they had come up with. In Sloom, þórhallsson sings “So make all your last demands for I will forsake you /and I’ll meet your eyes for the very first time, for the very last”. Much like the feelings in that line, the whole song is ambiguous, and surely it will be debated by fans. Many lines point to a relationship, but what kind? The chorus of “So love me mother love me father and love my sister as well” obviously point to family, but is it personal, or does the song reference all, and the love and acceptance everyone wants? Of Monsters and Men have divulged song meanings before, so perhaps they will also do so with the new songs on this album. Until then, listeners can let the stories play out in their heads the way they see fit.
Of Monsters and Men, though relatively new, seem to be gaining a lot of ground with fans both at home in Finland and abroad. They have a full tour lining up nicely, with several sold out shows in Europe. For those stateside, they will be performing at several music festivals and station-sponsored events this season:
They will also be announcing more US dates next week, so check their calendar regularly.
Written by Nicole Banister
OurVinyl.com | Contributor
The Little Talks official video is below…