Of Monsters And Men broke free from the Icelandic circuit when they made it big with their debut album a few years ago, and I think that record’s success has placed some pressure on their follow up full length release, Beneath The Skin. Will it keep up the hype around the indie folk group? Let’s find out today!
It seems to me that OMAM goes about producing music in a formulaic kind of way. There are common elements that keep popping up on a lot of the songs anyway. We often hear a steady thumping bass drum on the beat, separate vocals by the lead singers (Nanna and Ragnar) in the verses followed by choruses sung in unison, the same tone on guitar chords, and boy do they love their ‘Woah’s! These are the kind of things we heard on the debut, and they’re ever present here as well.
There’s no anthem quite on par with Little Talks but the singles from the album are certainly strong songs that stand out on their own merit. For me the standout tracks are Empire for its lyrical rhythm and catchy chorus, and Slow Life, which takes advantage of its length to develop a really full sound with layered guitars, rich percussion with a more complex beat, vocal backing and some horns.
Although OMAM generally keep their songs sounding along a similar vein, there is a bit of variation at times, like in the very emotional Organs which basically just features piano chords and Nanna’s most fragile vocals: “I am sorry for the trouble I suppose/My blood runs red but my body feels so cold.” I like the dynamic created by having both male and female lead vocalists as they make each song sound like they’re communicating a shared experience. In Wolves Without Teeth for example, they start out in a sort of call and response and then band together for the latter half of the song to add strength through unison.
Beneath The Skin is easy listen that does not push too much further than the ground made by OMAM’s debut album in my opinion, but the band from Iceland still provide an enjoyable listen. OMAM’s strength lies largely in their ability to create a catchy chorus full of emotion and positive vibes, and I think they have achieved this again here. Get in on their upcoming tour and take advantage of their festival friendly music!