By Keegan James ’19
While My Head is an Animal was full of soft acoustic songs with moments of higher energy, Beneath the Skin has more drive in it. The drums throughout the album take a lot of precedence and stimulate the drive and excitement that is recurrent throughout the album.
The horn section is also featured more predominantly than in their earlier album, especially in the songs “Black Water” and “Hunger.”
This is not to say that Of Monsters and Men have changed their sound, they have of course retained the acoustic storytelling that has a very relaxing nature to it.
“Thousand Eyes,” “I of the Storm” and “Hunger” recall “Slow and Steady” from My Head is an Animal, but the key to Beneath the Skin is the driving drums and more forceful melodies. These songs reach climatic points that excite the listener and reach new highs for Of Monsters and Men.
“Crystals” opens the album with the realization that Of Monsters and Men has stepped in a slightly new and energetic direction and “We Sink” ends the album with that same feeling. “We Sink” builds and builds in that typical Of Monsters and Men fashion but ends in a soft, introspective cadence on the piano when one expects a big buildup. It is quite fitting in conclusion because it marks a very nice uniqueness to the band. They don’t always do what is musically expected. If you have the deluxe version of the album like I do, there are two bonus tracks: “Backyard” and “Winter Sound,” along with a remix of “Black Water” and “I of the Storm.” The bonus tracks are wonderful. “Backyard” follow the course of this album with a similar feel to “Hunger” and “I of the Storm” while “Winter Sound” has a sound similar to “Crystal” and “Black Water.” In fact some of the “oohs” in “Winter Sound” follow a similar melody to that in “Black Water.” “Black Water” is my personal favorite on this album because I enjoy the up and down of the song, the fluctuation between a soft, acoustic song and an exciting, fast paced, danceable Of Monsters and Men song.
Of Monsters and Men is my favorite band and while I loved My Head is an Animal there is more maturity to Beneath the Skin. It is more developed, more intricate, and musically there are more advanced chord progressions. The album has more layered combinations of instruments throughout the album. One can hear advanced rhythmic combinations on the drums with accordion, horns, guitars, and bass all together in beautiful harmony.
If you are interested they will be playing at the LC Pavilion in Columbus on September 28, a concert well worth trekking to. All in all this album is an advancement from Of Monsters and Men’s previous work of high caliber, so it is exciting to see the triumph of Beneath the Skin and what is to come.