Of Monsters and Men release their follow up to 2011’s My Head is an Animal in the form of Beneath the Skin today, but is it a match for their much loved debut? I’m afraid not.
Few acts can boast album sales of 200+ million copies, least of all on their debut, but Of Monsters and Men’s enigmatic folk-rock stylings on 2011’s My Head is an Animal did exactly that. The first single from Beneath the Skin: Empire left me with high hopes for their sophomore LP and very true to it, every song has beautifully soaring melodies and vocals. The album is also littered with echoing orchestral drums and brass conjuring up images of Middle Earth to my mind’s eye. It’s very well produced and each track had my foot tapping to a gorgeous building crescendo that finishes on a high note, ready for the next hatchling track to appear.
The thing is, while it’s musically fabulous, all the songs seem to meld into one, so much so that you could probably play it on a loop and not realise it! It feels like it’s trying to be the bigger OMAM fledgling and musically it most certainly is more enigmatic than the last. No doubt it will spawn a host of well received singles and it’s an easy listen, it’s just missing some variation.
In the face of their earlier accomplishments, it’s a shame they didn’t further their earlier winning formula and in the landscape of 2015’s already fearsome back-catalogue of awesome music, Beneath the Skin could end up eclipsed by something less predictable at a moment’s notice.
If you are a fan, don’t write this LP off as you will no doubt enjoy it, but I’m afraid I won’t be hailing this one a modern classic any time soon.