One of my vices as someone who finds great joy in discovering new bands is that I often fail to spend much time with any given artist before moving on to another one. And then out of nowhere, I will be completely blindsided by a band who forces everything else to the fringes and demands my complete, uninterrupted attention. Well, ladies and gents, that band in recent months has been none other than the latest Icelandic sensation, Of Monsters And Men.
If I were to come up with a checklist of ways for a band to assure that I would fall head over heels in love with their sound, it would probably go something like this: boy-and-girl call-and-response singing? check. excellent horn section? check. three- and four-part harmonies? check and check. beards. duh, check. All of that aside, these precocious lads from (almost) across the pond, seem to have created a sound all their own that leans heavy on the new folk movement coming out of the UK that seems to incorporate the beautiful landscape of Iceland all too well with some occasionally post-rockish drum swells for good measure. In short, I listen to them and feel that same sense of giddiness that I did for the first time with Fleet Foxes in 2007 and The Head and The Heart in 2010. But that’s not really their sound at all. If anything, I would compare them with an Arcade Fire or maybe even Fanfarlo.
They released their debut album “My Head Is An Animal” in their native country toward the end of 2011 and recently announced an April 3 release in the US and Canada. If you happen to be at South By this March or hear of this band coming through any city you live near, you should be in attendance. For anyone that loves music, you know the feeling of seeing a band live right when they are on the verge of blowing up. Sheer exuberance. I can guarantee that feeling for anyone lucky enough to catch them when they come to the US soon.