Of Monsters and Men Thinks New Album Beneath the Skin Is “More Pepper than Salt”

Image Courtesy of Republic RecordsOf Monsters and Men's much-anticipated sophomore album, Beneath the Skin, was released this week. A lot has changed for the Icelandic band in the four years since they released their debut record, My Head Is an Animal, and vocalist and guitarist Ragnar Þórhallsson [pr: Thorallsson] thinks the new album reflects those changes.

"We're different people now than we were when we wrote [My Head Is an Animal]," Þórhallsson tells ABC Radio. "I just think [Beneath the Skin is] a little bit better, it's simple for me. I think it's heavier, both lyrically and maybe musically as well."

"It's like more pepper than salt," adds drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson of Beneath the Skin. "There was more salt than pepper on [My Head Is an Animal].

My Head Is an Animal debuted at six on the Billboard 200 and spawned a number-one hit at alternative rock radio in "Little Talks." Given the success of their first record, the band did feel some pressure while writing Beneath the Skin.

"We tried to ignore it, but still we thought about it," Hilmarsson says. "People now know us for what we did with My Head Is an Animal and there is demand for more, so there is pressure with that. But yeah, I think we dealt with it pretty well."

Of Monsters and Men broke through with "Little Talks" and My Head Is an Animal in the midst of a folk rock revival led by bands such as Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers and The Head and the Heart. However, Þórhallsson feels that "folk" is not the right way to describe his band.

"The folky element in our band, I don't think it's that strong," he tells ABC Radio. "I just think folk music is something else a bit. I think just because it's acoustic guitar doesn't mean it's folk music."

Of Monsters and Men may have acoustic guitars and big harmonies, but they also have something that Mumford & Sons didn't until recently: electricity.

"Mumford is electric now, but our songs have been electric from the beginning," Þórhallsson says.

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