It is a rare piece of music that can sweep you away so completely that you feel betrayed when it ends and you’re jolted back to reality. Even more rarely can an entire album accomplish the same feat.

However, with their second album, Beneath The Skin, Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men has done just that, creating a lush, ethereal, hour-long journey that is equal parts powerful and relaxing.

With their first album, My Head Is An Animal, Of Monsters and Men proved they were a musical force to be reckoned with. However, their lyrics lacked a depth that made their songs truly resonate with the listener.

Those days are gone. The lyrics on Beneath The Skin are strikingly beautiful and delivered with emotion of which My Head Is An Animal had very little.

Perhaps the difference stems from the presence of an over-arching theme. While their debut album was full of happy, catchy pop songs, Beneath The Skin really does seem to go deeper, exploring a variety of corporeal and emotional experiences. You feel every ounce of pain and every moment of joy the songs convey but in a brilliant way so that the songs are still memorable and lively.

It’s easy to suddenly find yourself dramatically lip-syncing the choruses of songs like “Empire” and “Human” or feel your heart ache while listening to “Organs”.

Of Monsters and Men have grown up in the last four years, and that newfound maturity is apparent in every track of their new record. It’s been a long time since an album moved me as much as Beneath The Skin has, and I’ve immensely enjoyed every moment of it.

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