Of Monsters and Men - Beneath the Skin

by Dan Clay Rating:7 Release Date:2015-06-08

With the likes of Mumford having given up on acoustic guitars, it seems the new 'folk group god' mantle is well up for grabs and Icelandic melodic songsmiths Of Monsters and Men clearly feel they're the ones to take it up. After the surprise success of their debut, My Head is an Animal (which in itself provided ample tunes for Ben Stiller to skateboard down volcanoes to in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) what can the band deliver to stake their claim on that notoriously difficult second album?

More of the same, it seems, if lead single and sprightly opening track 'Crystals' is anything to go by, coupled with the simple strum of the climactic 'Hunger'. There's plenty here for fans of the radio-friendly folk of the debut to enjoy, and sometimes there's nothing wrong with giving the people what they want.

So while the more brooding 'Wolves Without Teeth' and pounding 'Empire' continue the form, the rather aptly titled 'Slow Life' feels a touch lifeless as does the rather aimless 'Thousand Eyes', with things only recovering on the more intimate and soft 'Organs' - an album highlight - and the slow-building 'Black Water'.

Thankfully, the timely 'We Sink' doesn't, instead returning us to the album's much stronger first half before things close with the epic 'Human'. So while there's little to break new ground for the band - a la Mumford - on this effort, a solid song-base and some decent tunes should provide plenty for fans to enjoy and Mr Stiller to mine, perhaps for Dodgeball 2.

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