Though I’d be hard-pressed to pronounce the names of the individual band members — let alone spell them! — Icelandic chamber folk/pop Of Monsters and Men are fast becoming one of my favorite bands. The quintet exploded onto the scene with the release of 2011 debut “My Head Is an Animal,” which spawned the ridiculously awesome single “Little Talks” and earned the group festival gigs at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Glastonbury, as well as an appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”
Co-vocalists/songwriters Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson displayed an impeccable chemistry on OM&M’s debut and it continues on almost-as-good sophomore platter “Beneath the Skin.” Hilmarsdóttir and Þórhallsson work the girl-boy vocal dynamic to perfection throughout the 15-track, 65-minute slab.
The overall mood of “Beneath the Skin” is a bit more melancholic than its predecessor, but it’s still a flat-out terrific album. Among the many keepers here are “Human,” “Wolves Without Teeth,” “Empire,” “Organs,” “Thousand Eyes,” “I of the Storm” and “Winter Sound.” There’s no sign of a sophomore slump from Of Monsters and Men. (Jeffrey Sisk)