The building intensity of lead-off track Crystals suggests the dreaded sophomore slump isn’t an issue for Of Monsters and Men. Whereas their debut presented hooky, buoyant “woh-oh” orch pop, darker forces are at work here. Songs like Human begin from murkier places but grow to intense sonic orgasms.
They do stick to that formula a bit too rigidly: the first half is uniform in its patterned builds, and back-to-back tracks like Hunger and Wolves Without Teeth aren’t very distinguishable. But the band’s near-masterful ability to weave pop sensibilities with moodiness still remains.
At 11 tracks, there’s a lot to digest, particularly the raging I Of The Storm. We Sink hints at the radio-ready hooks of their debut, but slows the pace to a percussion-heavy crawl. If we first heard Of Monsters and Men in the perfect afternoon sun, their follow-up finds them getting comfortable in the approaching dusk.
Top track: Crystals
Of Monsters and Men play the Toronto Urban Roots Fest September 18.