Of Monsters and Men's Fever Dream.
On July 26, Of Monsters and Men (OMAM) released their third album, Fever Dream. Listeners will not be disappointed by this fresh take on the quintessential OMAM sound. The album opens with “Alligator,” an enthusiastic chant and perfect introduction to the album’s colorful lyrics, sound, and aesthetics. The song aptly sets the tone for the record: “I see color/ raining down/ feral feeling/ swaying sound.” Lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir sings, “And now I take control/ I’m fever dreaming.”
The album shifts into “Ahay,” a calmer track about a confusing and unrequited love, featuring both Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Raggi Þórhallsson, the groups’ male vocalist. Their voices blend so well that it takes a moment to realize there are two singers. The title of the third song, “Róróró,” translates from Icelandic to “calm, calm calm,” yet the song is anything but. “Oh what a shame ‘cause I know/ With open arms then I could hold it all/ Oh what a shame that I row/ To the edges so that I can fall off.” This song is perhaps the most powerful in the album. It is a hopeless cry for a romance gone wrong, and Nanna’s intonations and the pace of the song fits the lyrics perfectly. The contradicting themes throughout the album are poignant and purposeful. Love is portrayed as difficult, confusing, good, and bad, sometimes all at the same time.
Lyrics aren’t the only powerful tool the band uses; sonically, the album evokes memories of easily forgotten moments. “Waiting for the Snow” delicately describes misguided love, but the greatest impact comes from the piano like falling snow on a bleak day, and the background effects like a crackling fire. The instrumentals are reminiscent of the style of Bon Iver’s “Holocene” in its creative and hypnotising composition.
I was discouraged four years ago when OMAM’s second album, Beneath the Skin, fell short of my expectations; the songs were too chanty, the lyrics too obscure. It felt formulaic, like an attempt to copy the success that “Little Talks” and My Head is an Animal had brought them. Fever Dream is totally different. OMAM has taken what works and expanded beyond it, creating an album with purpose, with songs that flow into each other. Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Þórhallsson’s voices resonate perfectly both independently and when blended together. Throughout the length of the forty-minute album, OMAM shifts in and out of reality, looking at what is and what could be. “Stuck in Gravity” has a line that perfectly describes the album as a whole: “delusional reality.”
The band tells the colorful story of lovers—fearful, hopeful, intoxicated, falling, and fallen. The last song, “Soothsayer,” ends with “Stay here, I need you.” The ups and downs and the pure emotion in this record paint that sometimes love is, well, feverish.
Fever Dream is now available on all music streaming platforms.
Photo Credit: Republic Records