Of Monsters And Men - My Head Is An Animal
Record Label: Record Records (Iceland)
Release Date: September 20th, 2011
Iceland is known for pumping out beautiful music. The music is usually soothing, but at the same time inspiring. Bands such as Jónsi & Alex, Sigur Rós, and Ólafur Arnalds are usually brought to mind when speaking of such music. Well it's time to add another extremely talented band to that list. Of Monsters and Men are a six-piece dual vocal led band from Reykjavík, Iceland and although they have been a band since 2007 they are now putting out their debut My Head Is An Animal. Their song" Little Talks" has garnished them a following outside of Iceland even reaching #1 at a radio station in Philadelphia. And although the wait for this album has been four years too long, it definitely delivered.
My Head Is An Animal starts out with the slow intro of "Dirty Paws" with the line which spawns their album name. About a minute in, the song explodes with a certain joy comparable to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. This song definitely sets an upbeat theme for the album. Following the opener is sure to be a favorite; "King and Lionheart" showcases the dual vocals quite nicely. The kick drum present throughout the verses pulls the listener close and when the chorus crashes in mouths will lift and a smile is sure to be seen. The instrumentation behind the vocals throughout the song (especially the guitar riff) slowly becomes more and more impressive and leads nicely into the toe taping, whistle-along "Numb Bears". The song builds and builds into the catchy chorus filled with la's and exciting trumpets.
"Sloom" is the album's first slow song and the dual vocals really make it beautiful as well do the lyrics, "The sea said goodbye to the shore so the sun wouldn’t notice/ the seaweed that wrapped it’s arms around you." Following "Sloom" is fan favorite "Little Talks". This track needs no explanation. It's more of a, you need to hear it to fully enjoy it, song that will cause dancing around your house and singing along. "From Finner" is another slower song with a large chorus with drunken vocals and a accordion that will make you sway your head from side to side. Following "From Finner" is another sure-to-be favorite with simple yet beautiful lyrics such as, "A wolf, wolf and I, / we share the same cold meal./ I float on, float on down ./ We ride, we ride, we ride/ we ride it all out." After six minutes of group vocals and excellent instrumentation, "Love Love Love" enters the picture. This simple, yet wonderful song about a one sided relationship will sink in to the veins and slow the heart rate. "Cause you, love, love, love/ when you know I can’t love./ You love, love, love/ when you know I can’t love./ You love, love, love,/ when you know I can’t love you." The dual vocals are removed here and the beauty in Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir's voice is showcased. Her voice somberly yet powerfully takes you through her heartbreak and really connects with the listener. "Your Bones" is another song in which the dual vocals are stripped away momentarily and Ragnar þórhallsson's vocals are thrown in the spotlight. "Lakehouse" is one of my personal favorites. The trumpets really shine throughout the song as well do the vocals of the entire band as they fade slowly but fantastically into album closer "Yellow Light". I'm not one to ruin an album closer so take a chance to listen to it. It's a wonderful closer for an absolutely wonderful album.
Although this album is not available in the United States just yet (they are working on getting it out here as we speak!) all the tracks are streaming on YouTube and their are some leaks from the Icelandic folks floating around so I would highly suggest picking it up. I can earnestly say that this album (a high contender for my AOTY) will not disappoint fans looking for beauty as well as a fun fall album. Of Monsters and Men have made a huge impact with their debut and I am counting down the days until their follow up to My Head Is An Animal