Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Concert review: Of Monsters and Men’s harmonies got buried during Dallas show
We craved hushed magic but got over-served with cheer.
DALLAS Swelling choruses built on softly wound harmonies and succinct instrumentation are the bread and butter of Nordic folk group Of Monsters and Men, who played to a sold-out crowd at the House of Blues on Tuesday night. The 7-piece band out of Iceland has quickly made a name for themselves with debut album My Head Is An Animal. The band's international tour is brimming with sold-out dates.
Of Monsters and Men joins a host of bands whose musical style is flooding the airwaves: The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, and The Head and the Heart are a few. This burst of sugary folk has catapulted Of Monsters and Men into a new world, shoving their 13-song record into the spotlight. Tuesday’s set showed that although this boisterous album is hearty, there isn’t enough variety to go around.
Tracks like “From Finner” and radio single “Little Talks” reflected their happy-go-lucky style, and gave the full house many chances to chant along in a "hey! hey!" spirit. The resounding wall of voices, led by Nanna Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar “Raggi” þórhallsson, mercilessly marched above the music. Wearier track “Your Bones” -- which þórhallsson puzzlingly dedicated to Dirk Nowitzki -- let touring trumpeter Ragnhildur Gunnarsdóttir shine. But after 10 of these “ra ra” tracks, I craved a more vulnerable, slowed-tempo number. Their warm welcome had begun to wear off, even with the soft orbs and matted light floating above them.
The evening's curveball finally came during the last song of the encore: “Yellow Light.” The tip-toeing track put all ears on their hushed tones. More songs like “Yellow Lights” are needed on their sophomore record; songs from My Head Is An Animal didn't show the band's range.
Montreal’s Half Moon Run opened the evening with mellow, introspective indie rock. Front man Devon Portielje’s vocals were rich and full of authenticity. The Canadian trio accomplished a lot with only keys and drums, which all three members rotated through. With only debut record Dark Eyes out in Canada (U.S. release is yet to come), this is a fresh-faced act to watch.
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