It seems like only yesterday that alt-folk collectives and Americana were the biggest new things in indie music – yet they’ve already spawned a second generation.To be fair, Icelandic six-piece Of Monsters and Men didn’t begin the day after yesterday, but won the Músiktilraunir, Iceland’s annual battle of the bands, all the way back in 2010.However, they only made their North American debut at SXSW 2012, and only now has Universal put out their first LP, My Head Is an Animal, which harkens back to the right sounds of today’s alt-folk collective & Americana.
The group uplift of the likes of Fanfarlo (QRO album review) and others is present throughout Animal, including single/breakthrough “Little Talks” (QRO live video), which is still the best song on the record. While no other song is quite as big as “Little”, the uplift doesn’t vary a great deal, save for times when co-singer/guitarist Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir takes over from Ragnar ‘Raggi’ Þórhallsson, giving Of Monsters and Men a female voice. The group dips into the more straight-up Americana style of Mumford & Sons (QRO live review), though the cheerier, Hilmarsdóttir-led “Numb Bears” sounds more akin to female-led Hospitality (QRO album review).
“Little Talks” won Of Monsters and Men an American audience, and it’s easy to see why – and My Head Is an Animal largely lives up to that breakthrough. All hail the second generation of the alt-folk collective.
MP3 Stream: “Little Talks“