Of Monsters and Men "My Head Is An Animal"

Whimsy and chamber pop combine for an impressive debut from a six-piece Icelandic band.

After winning the nationwide 2010 battle-of-the-bands competition in their native Iceland, Of Monsters and Men received much internet buzz. They were hailed as "the new Arcade Fire" in Rolling Stone. With good reason, the six-piece encompasses whimsical chamber-pop and does it well. Each song is like an epic movie with crescendos quickly getting to the climax, keeping your ears happy and busy. Pay-off is swift on My Head is an Animal. The band’s two-vocal technique is not an uncommon practice, but they have perfected blended the male and female together surrounded, often, by a swelling chorus.

The band is full of day-dreamers. The music and the lyrics are a reflection of their dreamy status. “Little Talks” is about a wife whose husband has died. The lyrics are from the conversation between the two of them. “We don't know if she's going crazy or if someone's actually there” Says vocalist Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir. She took inspiration from the couple that used to live in her house. The chanting, tribal “Six Weeks” was inspired by the true tale of American frontiersman Hugh Glass, seemingly left for dead after 86ing a bear that attacked him. The epic “From Finner” is “about a whale that has a house on its back. on which people travel across the ocean, exploring different places and having adventures” says other vocalist Ragnar “Raggi” þórhallsson. Dreamy.

My Head is an Animal is an album meant to be sung along with. It’s first impression is a lasting one.

Cindy Howes (Morning Mix)