Of Monsters And Men

My Head Is An Animal

Written by: TL on 10/05/2012 16:22:57

So guys, if any of you have been enjoying the hip wave of indie/folk music that has been trendy these last few years, here's a new band it might be easy for you to get excited about. Of Monsters And Men are a sixtet from Iceland who won the 2010 edition of the country's prestigious band battle Músíktilraunir, and whose debut album "My Head Is An Animal" may have dropped in their home country already last September, yet most of the rest of the world have had to wait till this April to hear it.

Hear it I have, and from its sound, I'd say fans of some of the best folk acts of recent times - such as Mumford & Sons, Ben Howard and The Decemberists - should definitely be raising an eyebrow and opening an ear, because Of Monsters And Men sound quite a lot like especially the former two, with the notable exception that the mainstay of their vocals are delivered by a woman, singer/guitarist Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir. She is often complimented by both single male cleans and spirited gang shouts here and there, and all of this vocal work resides in a cool, atmospheric soundscape constructed with keyboards, glockenspiel, melodica, accordion as well as of course a couple of guitars, drums and bass.

Of Monsters And Mens' foremost quality - the way I see and probably the reason for their being already signed to Universal - is that you get the rare, immediate feeling, from the second you put "My Head Is An Animal" on, that here is a band that just has a sound that's unmistakably good. Similarly to the bands I've already referenced, these guys simply conjure up an atmosphere and get you interested instantly.

In fact, they're so good at getting your attention and making you think "this is good stuff", that you'd almost be excused for immediately positioning them high in the hierarchy of bands in your mind. That however, I think would be a bit hasty, for while repeat listens have ensured me that the average song on "My Head Is An Animal" is indeed both engaging and highly recognisable, I do still have the lingering feeling that Of Monsters And Men lack a little depth once you turn your full attention to their tracks. The simple-yet-effective manner in which the songs are put together makes easy winners, especially out of highlights like "King And Lionheart", "Your Bones" and lead single "Little Talks", but it also means that you don't get quite the same feeling of intricacy and intensity you get from some of the more experienced players in the genre.

That's the long way of saying that in my experience, this here is a disc that grabs hold of your attention immediately, yet falls inches short of getting that deeper hold of you that a great record does with several spins. And that's why I'm going to be just a little stingy with my rating here. That surely doesn't mean you should check this out if you're all into some of the stuff I've referenced though. I know I certainly will be keeping an eye on the band and seeing them live as well, first chance I get.

Download: Little Talks, King And Lionheart, Your Bones
For The Fans Of: Mumford & Sons, Ben Howard, The Decemberists, Arcade Fire
Listen: facebook.com/ofmonstersandmen

Release Date 03.04.2012

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