Of Monsters and Men wear the mantle well
Rockland Trust Pavilion, Boston, September 8, 2019
Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
The Iceland musical tidal wave may have subsided in large part, but the likes of Bjork and Sigur Ros set the stage for modern day bands like Of Monsters and Men.
Not that OMAM needed anyone to help them along because another outstanding performance by the indie folk/pop band showed they are certainly deserving on their own merits.
There's quite a lot to like about OMAM. It all starts with the song with the group playing a good portion of their new disc, "Fever Dream" as well as "My Head Is An Animal," their debut disc from 2011, which broke them. Most of the songs during the 90-minute show tended to glide along at a good clip with drummer Arnar R"senkranz Hilmarsson establishing the propulsive beat and maintaining it throughout ("King and Lionheart"). Guitars and keyboards at times colored the songs here and there as well.
OMAM occasionally slowed down the pace, but fans didn't have to wait too long for the band to kick in, the pace quicken and get the feet moving.
What set OMAM apart, though, was the vocal interplay between Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsd"ttir and Ragnar Þ"rhallsson. Hilmarsd"ttir was a commanding singer tending to occupy center stage more than Þ"rhallsson. Inevitably, however, they would trade stanzas, with each backing up the other for wonderful harmonies. At times, they suggested - especially Þ"rhallsson - Mumford & Sons, but with the give-and-take vocals, OMAM do it their way.
And it was done so without a lot of fanfare or conversation from them, although Hilmarsd"ttir pulled a Florence and ran around the audience during the latter stages of the evening. That probably should not be a surprise, given that OMAM toured with Florence + The Machine in 2016. It didn't take much to energize the crowd since they were often clapping along to the music.
With good reason because yet again, Of Monsters and Men wear the mantle of music coming out of Iceland very well. In reality, though, it doesn't matter where they're from. They do what they do very well.