Of Monsters And Men – My Head Is An Animal

What is it about Icelandic bands that makes them sound so Icelandic? Groups that hail from this area seem to have a penchant for sounds of grandiose proportions, even when writing relatively gentle music. This is a perfect way to describe the debut album from Of Monsters And Men, a six piece indie rock band from Iceland who are making a strong first impression with My Head Is An Animal.

The group have a few strengths under their belt which will play to their advantage, the main one being the joint harmonizing vocals of Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson. The two sing most of the record in tandem, sometimes breaking off individually for extra colour and dynamics. When this is coupled with their other main strengths, the melodies and the atmospheric feel of the music, My Head Is An Animal becomes an indie rock lover’s wet dream. The elements come together brilliantly in the record’s stand out tracks, opener Dirty Paws, and the rolling Slow And Steady, two songs which really sum up what this group are capable of.

From Finner is the strongest single vocal track, taking cues from Florence & The Machine and using shimmering walls of sound. The precise planning that have gone into the various layers of this music must have been fairly meticulous to come out with such a cohesive result, which is why the recording of this record is yet another strength.

The album moves from bright moments such as the horn laden Little Talks to the sombre yet beautiful Sloom covering a range of emotions without ever really committing to them. The record ends on the frenzied Lakehouse which builds then drops wonderfully into Yellow Light, a soft ballad that once again emphasises the amazing vocal work.

Of Monsters And Men have clearly taken their time with this release, not only in the song-writing, but in it’s actual creation. Whilst this may not be a luxury they can afford on album number two, which will test their true talents, My Head Is An Animal makes it pretty clear that they are well equipped for the challenge.