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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks

Straight out of Iceland come the pop-folk ensemble Of Monsters and Men. They’re nothing like as harsh as traditional Scandinavian folk combos and infinitely more accessible than their puffin worrying cousin, Bjork, (and I even heard one of their ditties playing over the tannoy at Sainsburys last week). It’s almost an open secret that commercial success is right around the corner for our heroes, but are they worthy of your consideration?

Well it’s fun, fluffy folk with some catchy monster hit singles snuggled away in the album, but it may not hold your attention for too long. The lyrics are a quirky, yet mildly irritating, with the feel of a medieval fairy-tale populated by tree hugging animal cuddlers, and not in a good way. It brings to mind the soundtrack to an Icelandic Manga version of the Moomins with lots of cuddly puffins, but sadly Snufkin isn’t munching them. In short it’s way too wholesome and honey sweet for everyday consumption.

On the other hand, the voice of the brilliantly named Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is often a thing of awe and wonder. Sitting somewhere between the woman from the Cranberries and the afore mentioned Bjork, she refuses to become bogged down in warbling and sticks thankfully to straightforwardly belting out the songs. Sadly, her male partner provides little of the contrast that Einar once did so perfectly in the Sugarcubes and ends up sounding like a less dynamic version of Mumford and Sons. Which is difficult to achieve and rarely recommended.

The marquee singles are all enjoyable enough with ‘Little Talks’, ‘King and Lionheart’ and ‘Mountain Sound’ all having agreeable singalong potential, but scratch the surface and there’s little strength in depth evident in their song-writing. If you own one of those shops that sells trinkets and dream-catchers then this is a near perfect album, for the rest of us it will probably prove too cutesy, sweet and catchy.


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