Of Monsters and Men, “Beneath the Skin”
Of Monsters and Men
Beneath the Skin
With Beneath the Skin, Of Monsters and Men shed their jaunty, sweet exterior, and expose some (or, more accurately, too many) darker and moodier cuts. The Icelandic six-piece’s sophomore album is distinctly different from their 2012 debut. Where My Head Is an Animal harmonized strings and piano for uplifting folky melodies, Beneath blends electric riffs with thudding drums for a heavier chamber-pop sound. The album attempts to tackle themes of insecurity and finding confidence, but the LP’s lengthy track list muddies the band’s message. Unfortunately, the LP’s strongest songs come from its second half (starting with “Organs”). These tracks best embody OMAM’s new sound, with the heartbreakingly vulnerable “I of the Storm” as a standout. They maintain some of their known characteristics—grand layers of instrumentals, pastoral imagery, and audience-responsive hooks—but Of Monsters and Men are pushing to develop into something bolder and riskier. They’re not ready yet, but the opportunity is there if they learn how to edit.