Iceland has always been a surprising hotbed of musical activity and like Sigor Ros before them, Of Monsters and Men seem destined to become a global musical act. While they may have the ever-enchanting “foreign band” label as a calling card, Of Monsters and Men show more similarities to bands like Mumford & Sons and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, though thankfully they didn’t pursue the & symbol in their name. "Mountain Sound" the third track off of their debut LP My Head Is an Animal has a bright opening hook worthy of Springsteen and sparse guitar chords and an upbeat call and response vocal fitting the chorus between Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir and Ragnar “Raggi” Porhallsson.
As the song builds, the arrangement widens with an echo befitting the mountain sound of which they speak, filling the air with backing harmonies and handclap-stomp rhythms as the lyrics turn into exultant Walt Whitman-esque chants. A fine piece of work for a band debut.Check out “Slow and Steady” as well, which melds Florence and the Machine vocals with Local Natives percussion and packs quite a punch.
Elsewhere, Of Monsters and Men show off a large sphere of influence from the powerful “Six Weeks” inspired by an article on the most badass men in history and tales of whales with houses on their backs (“From Finner”). Overall it’s a wonderfully produced album and sure to be on the tops of lists for best of 2012.
My Head is An Animal was released April 3rd, 2012 on Universal Republic Records. You can find the digital version on iTunes here .