1. Dirty Paws
2. King and Lionheart
3. Mountain Sound
4. Slow and Steady
5. From Finner
6. Little Talks
7. Six Weeks
8. Love Love love
9. Your Bones
12. Yellow Light
13. Numb Bears
It would not be very convincing if I just say that this entire album is amazing and you should not second guess buying it. Just do it. So I’ll try my best to convince you with this review. Most people associate Of Monsters and Men with the song “Little Talks.” I initially heard “Mountain Sound”, and it remains as one of my favorite songs out of the entire album. Usually it is very difficult for me to like an entire album, but I can confidently say I love every song in My Head is an Animal. Of Monsters and Men are an up and coming indie band, and so far they are doing everything right in my book. By this I mean, they incorporate many youthful themes into their songs. Each musical instrument is never drowned out, all are blended quite nicely and used to their full capacity. The lead singers, and also the entire bands chant’s appear in many of their songs, but are not awkwardly inserted. The track list for the album is like a bell curve, starts off slow, gradually increases its momentum and then finally settles and closes with more musical intermissions rather than singing. “Numb Bears” is an additional song as well as the “Little Talks” music video.
Known to play the folk genre, Of Monsters and Men sends you down the rabbit hole into nirvana. You are isolated there, and your only objective is essentially to live, laugh and love as cliche as that sounds. The album expounds on a world of youthful vigor, dreamy dispositions, young love, and a sense of carpe diem. Many of the tracks feature phrases like sleeping during the night, and once the sun is down, everything comes to life. There are also many themes of journeying, and letting a “ship” which serves as a mode of transportation to an adventure that you will never forget. It’s in a way symbolic that they incorporated a sea theme in many of their songs and chose it to be their album cover. The sea is alive, and becomes the gateway to this other world, as do the woods which serve as a gateway into youthful vigor and independence, “Through the woods we ran, deep into the mountain sound” (“Mountain Sound”).
The lead singers Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnor Þórhallsson complement each others voices very well. Nana has a very distinctive voice technique where she ends her notes sharp and abrupt. Ragnor’s voice is not too deep, and all around is very calming and smooth. The entire album consistently keeps both their voices at a pleasant range that is easy on the ears. Nana isn’t really belting out notes in this album, but she can skillfully transition between high and low notes quite easily.
It’s hard to say which musical instrument really stands out the most because each one plays a vital role in interpreting the mood of each song. The drums played by Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson stand out in the peak of the bell curve, because this is where the album really gets rolling. Even in, “Slow and Steady”, which is a slow tempo song, the drums in the beginning are heard very clearly and is able to evoke the power of tranquility, “I move slow and steady, but i feel like a waterfall.” The keyboard on the other hand played by Árni Guðjónsson and the guitar wielders, Kristján Páll Kristjánsson, Nana, and Ragnor, serve their purpose in every song, but mostly in the slower ones. In the slower paced songs, Of Monsters and Men like to introduce one instrument after another until we’re throwing up our fists in the air chanting “hey!” Lastly, the trumpet, played by Ragnhildur Gunnarsdóttir, essentially puts the icing on the cake. The trumpet makes the sound complete by highlighting the necessary jingles that you will probably find yourself humming to on a daily basis. The trumpet makes songs like “Little Talks” and “Mountain Sound” stand out.
As a closure, I hope this has compelled you to try Of Monsters and Men out. They seem to be a dark horse in the indie-folk genre, and I can’t wait until they come out with new songs, but for now I don’t mind at all replaying My Head is an Animal a million times. One of my favorite lines in their songs is “Though the truth may vary, this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore (“Little Talks”). Honestly, I would choose all of their lines as a favorite, but this one really stood out for me. Their lyrics aren’t nonsensical, and you are free to interpret them in anyway which suits you. I hope you will come to enjoy them, and if you already were aware of their existence, spread the word!
“And that’s how the story goes, the story of the beast with those four dirty paws…”
Official Of Monsters and Men Website: http://www.ofmonstersandmen.com
*All photo credit belongs to Of Monsters and Men under the label Universal Republic.