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April 4, 2012 / jhsaeger

The Best Laid Plans Of Monsters And Men Go Astray

   It is not often that one writes about the hot new thing from Iceland, or the Reykjavick music scene, but here we are with the band Of Monsters and Men. A six-member indie folk band, Of Monsters and Men has been the beneficiaries of significant radio airplay of their first single, “Little Talks,” over the last several months. On Tuesday, the group made their North American debut by releasing My Head Is An Animal a little over seven months since the album hit in their native Iceland.    
    Much like the U.K. band Scars on 45, whose first full-length hits next week, the vocal duties in Of Monsters and Men are shared by male and female singers who each bring their own respective strengths to each song – Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir and Ragnar Porhallson. The pair does not always sing together, with Hilmarsdottir or Porhallson frequently trading the lead vocals. The one track where the pair excels on shared lead singing duties is also their biggest song to date, “Little Talks,” which is almost single-handedly responsible for the band selling out multiple venues (including two shows at Philadelphia’s Theatre of the Living Arts) before the album even found its way to the shelves of North American retailers.
     Other key tracks on the record aside from “Little Talks” include the catchy “From Finner” and “Six Weeks,” where the band produces their most energetic and inspiring moments.       
     A solid record, My Head Is An Animal is likely to play particularly well to those who follow either Mumford & Sons or Arcade Fire. While not overwhelming, the record has good moments but as a whole lacks something that Long After Dark can’t quite put its finger on. The songwriting itself, however, is good enough to be a foot in the door for a young band trying to expand its international fan base. I do, however, leave the doors wide open with possibility as I listen to the record more. It did take me well over a year to fall for Mumford & Sons and it is quite possible Of Monsters and Men could fall into the same category.
      My Head Is An Animal is available as a digital download, compact disc, and vinyl. 

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