Of Monsters and Men’s sophomore album, Beneath the Skin was released on Tuesday. Leading up to the release, the Icelandic folkers gave us 4 singles to wet our appetite– and did they. The PH team was impressed with the singles and eager to hear the album as a whole.
Band member Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir told Rolling Stone in a recent interview that Beneath the Skin is “polar opposite” to their first record, My Head is an Animal. While the mood of the new album is more somber and much darker than MHIAA, the Of Monsters and Men sound we fell in love with is still in tact. It’s definitely not a “polar opposite” record.
However, Listening to the new record, there is no doubt that it is an evolution of their sound. It seems as though the group’s sound has “grown up” in a few different ways. Lyrically you most definitely see a progression from MHIAA. What once was fun melodies and happy-go-lucky, fairy-tale lyrics, has matured to more open, personal and vulnerable imagery. The track Organs best illustrates this:
So I take off my face, because it reminds me how it all went wrong
And I pull out my tongue, because it reminds me how it all went wrong.
In my mind, OMAN’s lyrics will always be synonymous with fairy tales of animals and forestry envoking very Bridge to Terrabithia-ish imagery. Although they’ve developed into more personal moments, you can still see that imagery throughout the album. This can be seen in the track, Human:
The womb is still
shadows form a grill
If I lose control I feed the beast within
Cage me like an animal
A crown with gems and gold
I’m loving Beneath the Skin. For me it’s almost everything I could have wanted from OMAM for their sophomore album. Their sound has developed and grown from MHIAA, but they haven’t lost what caused us to fall in love with them to begin with. While some bands (cough Mumford and Sons cough) have completely changed their sound in attempt to ‘mature’, OMAN stays true to themselves and their fans.