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Album Review: Of Monsters And Men – Beneath The Skin
Of Monsters And Men have just released their second album Beneath The Skin, showing their growth as a band from their debut record My Head Is An Animal. The album highlights the beauty of their indie-folk genre, layering in beautiful lyrics alongside the creative and inspiring way they use their instruments and vocals.
The album kicks off with the first single previously heard from this album, Crystals. This song starts a record the way it should, with its fast paced instrumental. The song has that alluring layered vocals and production they Of Monsters And Men are well known for. With the beautiful lead vocals from Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, we hear the exquisite vocal abilities, alongside the poetic lyrics. ‘I’m okay in see-through skin/I forgive what is within’.
Human showcases something very extraordinary for this Icelandic band. The lyrics and tempo are that of the band themselves, however they include the use of electric guitars to add extra tempo. Being co-produced by Rich Costey, who has the likes of Muse, Death Cab For Cutie and Foster The People behind him, this creativity behind production and the rock inspired edge is almost expected. As a folk band this is a giant leap out of their comfort zone, but something that pays off creating what I believe to be the best song on this album.
Like My Head Is An Animal, their sophomore record has the slow, ballad-type songs on the album. However, Of Monsters And Men never lose their sound they are so well known for after the hit single Little Talks. The songs are always built up, with the heart wrenching lyrics being clearly heard. Hunger is an example of one of these songs. Nanna’s vocals are melancholic with the lyrics portraying that of a broken heart. ‘You were right, I’ll move on/But my lungs feel so small, I couldn’t breathe if I tried.’ The juxtaposed vocals throughout the song, with male and female both singing portrays this song in a story-like manner, leaving the listener to possibly believe they both feel the same. The harmonising is perfect and they allow Nanna’s strong vocal ability to take lead with production again being on top form.
This album is a superb effort, however, it lacks the original sounds created by Of Monsters And Men in their debut album. The electric guitar and production is a lot more utilised, which creates a unique sound for them but one that previous fans may not admire. Of Monsters And Men have delivered yet again an excellent collection of songs.