Iceland is a place where there are only a few hours of daylight in mid-winter, but correspondingly just a few hours of darkness mid-summer, so it’s only fitting that a group from there would traffic in not just light and dark, but the transition between the two. Alt-folk collective Of Monsters and Men go from ominous shadows to bright sun on Beneath the Skin, their follow-up to breakthrough My Head Is an Animal (QRO review).
Beneath begins with the bold uplift of single “Crystals”, and closes with the same in “We Sink”, but this is a record that deals as much in the dark as in the light. The intimacy of songs like “Empire” and “Organs” is a sad one, while even the grandness of “I of the Storm” feels resigned (if enchanting). Perhaps best putting it is “Human” and “Thousand Eyes”, which go from cloudy skies to the sunshine after the rain.
Beneath isn’t massive growth from their debut full-length, but has just enough that it isn’t My Head Is an Animal II, and will still touch and move their fans.