I do not practice music. No instrument, no composition, it has never been my thing. But I can hardly imagine a day without listening some, something would be missing. Plus I am the music monomaniac type, meaning that I like a song, an album or a band, I can listen to it on a loop until wanting to throw everything by the window (which was easier by CDs time, with computers it is not such a good idea anymore, stating than such a breakthrough would be a good idea so far, which I doubt by the way but let’s go back to topic).
I have quasi permanently a song in mind but I don’t get bother by it, quite the opposite actually. I sing a lot too, in the street, alone, in the bathroom, anytime someone is saying something matching the lyrics of a song I know (yeah, I can be a pain in the ass sometimes), I just cannot focus without music, especially for writing. As a summary, it is important in my life.
And some styles, types, some bands or singers are even more. Some, without us knowing really why, are touching us right in heart, making us cry, laugh, warm inside without any logical reason. It is a bit like meeting someone you like immediately, sometimes you don’t really know why, it might be something in the smile, in the repartee, spontaneous and sonorous laugh, something in the eyes, no matter what we got caught.
It was the case about the band I want to talk about today, it’s been a while since I wanted to write about them, the five Icelandic that founded Of Monsters and Men in 2010. I prefer to warn you about something right away though, the goal here is not to have a chronology of their accomplishments, concerts or a technical analysis of their music but more to talk about what they represent to me. This band is holding and will for a while I hope a very special spot inside my little personal Pantheon.
I didn’t get conquered right away though, I discovered them through radio more or less at the same time as everyone, when Little talks used to be there on a loop. At the beginning, I got fascinated by the song, it is really adorable, lively and subtle but it was only because it was going on all the time that it got my interest. And it was this very same insistence that killed it. Because indeed I don’t mind at all listening to a song 100 times a day during all time needed but if another entity chooses it for me, it doesn’t work that great.
(I put it here anyway, because the video clip is amazing plus it is still linked to too many good memories!)
Once the enthusiasm about this song went away, I also totally forgot about Of Monsters and Men, it is quite possible at that time that I never got their name anyway. Until this party in Budapest where a friend played their first and only album by the time, My Head is an Animal, in the background. You are not really supposed usually to pay attention to the musical background. For no reason really I paid attention though. Nice impulse, magic came through right away.
Mind you, it makes perfect sense, this album is wonderful. Melancholic. Joyful. Hopping. Childish. Mature. New. Ancient. Incomparable. Animalistic. Deeply human. Depressing. Fascinating. Powerful. Light. Deep. Open. Generous. Shy as well. Motivating. Echoing within us in so many ways that it is almost magic.
When sometimes an excess of feelings, no matter of what kind, is obstructing my throat, I listen to Sloom and the tears that need to go away finally do. This song always makes me want to say to my family how much I love them and how much I feel lucky to have them in my life.
When I feel great and tall, ready to have it all, Your Bones is really motivating, while listening you almost smell the melancholy and freedom of the North, facing these amazing stretches where you can free your soul if you are lucky to be on your own.
I cannot really count how many times I have been singing, either with the full strength of my lungs or muttering it, From Finner while facing a wonderful landscape, wind and happiness recklessly hitting my face. This song helped me swallowing all this beauty and all this euphoria otherwise too huge to be apprehended with serenity.
Then finally a second album came through in 2015, Beneath the Skin. Thanks to my proverbial musical monomaniac behavior previously described, I listened to it all over during almost 4 months and, far from getting tired of it, appreciating every new listening more than the previous one. A perfect second album, always a risky exercise when your first was such a stun, disappointing is very easy this way. But the dose between known and new is perfect, every song is having its own strong identity while perfectly fading into the whole. And there is this atmosphere so inimitable, this inextricable mix impossible to explain with words between renewing and remaining that is making their music ageless.
(« They say : ‘Come on come on let’s go…' »)
Listening to this album also coincided with a very beautiful trip of mine at that time in Latvia, Estonia and Finland in 2015. Not Iceland I know but if you are looking for a Northern atmosphere it is working better than perfectly. Every time I listen to Beneath the Skin nowadays I still see the fir tree forests, rivers, little colored houses, new born lilacs, the calm and grey sea, I smell the mossy rocks. The Winter Sound song is taking even more amplitude and sense thanks to all this. The winter sound doesn’t need to be depressing, quite the opposite actually, it can be lively, full of joy and romanticism, exactly the way this song feels.
It is probably the one and only band from which I can say I know all songs at least a bit. The one and only I like all songs without forgetting one, without thinking some are better than others, even if I have my favorite of course. I haven’t seen them in concert yet but I am looking forward, it will be an experience out of the ordinary for sure.