Of Monsters And Men – Fever Dream has been available for over two weeks, but only a few days ago I’ve reached for this record for the first time. In summer, I choose older things that work well in the car or help me relax and forget about civilization. This is the time when you can simply miss this or that premiere. But I have an irresistible impression that I’m not the only one who missed the latest release of Fever Dream. I didn’t notice any wave of admiration on the network and Polish internet with the new record of Icelanders …
I think there are two reasons. First of all, Of Monsters And Men focused on the American audience. In Billboard USA Fever Dream climbed 9th place, in Canada jumped to 2nd. No wonder, since they started the album promotion from the USA. Following the footsteps of KALEO, they often appear in the US media, becoming somewhat exotic, but still celebrities. They give concerts in North America until the end of September and will return to Europe at the end of October. Their calendar is complemented by a tour of festivals in Australia at the turn of December and January 2020.
Secondly – despite the announcement (Alligator song) that OMAM are full of energy, their latest album definitely slows down the pace. I even dare say that they changed the style of their music a bit. Fever Dream is no longer – like its predecessors – a folk-pop album. There are less lively sounds and chanted chorus here, but more reflection, melodies, keyboard instruments and distorted guitars. The sound sometimes resembles Vök achievements (e.g. Soothsayer or Ahay) – musically and vocally. Another time, the band enters the border areas between funk and disco (Wars), to finally sound with guitars, referring to British bands from the 90s. And you know what? I like this mixture very much!
Although the album is calm and subdued it still sounds like Of Monsters And Men. In addition, it has so many different, strange flavors! And so was the creators’ assumption. Nanna recalls that while working on the album, she didn’t want to duplicate her own, already well-established patterns. So she put down the acoustic guitar, on which she usually composed and began working on the computer. She was looking for something new. The group also decided to start producing the album. Rich Costey supported them (he produced the records of Bloc Party, MUSE and Franz Ferdinand).
I may be wrong, but I have an impression that the biggest OMAM fans will have to listen to the new album at least a few times to accept it. However, from the beginning I was captivated by this delicate variety of sounds and quite a large dose of melancholy. Take, for example, Under A Dome with Ragnar’s desperate, distorted vocals or the lyrical Waiting For The Snow with a fantastic vocal show by Nanna Bryndís. I don’t even mind the fact that the next songs of the group will probably appear on the charts and in playlists of commercial radio stations. It always makes me smile when I hear Icelanders playing between a sports and economic news. For me it is definitely not their place…
After another approach to this album, I’m quite inclined to say that Fever Dream Of Monsters And Men will taste best in the fall. I have some doubts about playing new records during summer festivals. Unless the concerts appear only modest fragments, referring to My Head Is An Animal or Beneath the Skin (lilke Alligator or Vulture, Vulture).
In conclusion – here another Icelandic band is growing up and transforming right before our eyes. Young artists, after the undoubted success of their debut and the second album, which was its continuation, are starting to look for a different path. This opens up new perspectives for the band and allows them to break free from exhausting patterns of self-repetability. However, yet I am not sure whether Fever Dream is the new way or just a step towards it.