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Of Monsters and Men – Beneath the Skin | Album Review

After the success of their debut album My Head is an Animal, Of Monsters and Men have returned with the equally delightful titled Beneath the Skin.



Although they can boast that the serenely beautiful Iceland is their home, Of Monsters and Men have crafted an album fitting for its summertime release. Thriving on honeyed melodies and soothing vocals, Beneath the Skin is a pocket of sunshine and optimism. Darker thoughts and hollow sounds sometimes arrive to eclipse this light, but both atmospheres work seamlessly together.

The album’s lead single ‘Crystals‘ is its highlight – the anthemic track radiates hope and its rousing drum pattern creates a sense of togetherness. As ‘Crystals’ fades into ‘Human’ the feeling intensifies because of the brooding, rolling sounds. Indie-pop perfection is achieved in Beneath the Skin’s opening duo which outdoes later songs, although the rest is still definitely worth pursuing.

The most striking thing about Beneath the Skin is its introspectiveness, making it an album that deserves to be listened to contemplatively rather than passively. Whilst the music alone makes for an enjoyable listening experience – each track twinkles, has a gorgeous tone and knows when to build and when to relax – it’s the lyrics, delivered by Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar þórhallsson’s breathy vocals that command attention. The best examples come in the form of ‘Wolves without Teeth’ which entertains colourful imagery, and the vulnerability of ‘Organs’ is purely poetic.

Beneath the Skin is a progression from the band’s debut My Head is an Animal as it is tighter, less artificial and more accomplished. Like the first record this new one has forgettable tracks and some that are indistinguishable from others. However, Of Monsters and Men’s newfound breeziness is refreshing and promises that even more delight will befall.

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