As the decade comes to a much needed conclusion, people will rush to get their “takes” in order. The best albums, the best TV series, the most impactful memes – every facet of entertainment and media ranked and filed away for future convenience. Everyone wants to get their word in, often before they’ve given it much thought. Such is the case regarding the modern era’s short attention span – you remember what came first, not what follows, even if it’s an improvement.

In the midst of this rush to 2019’s end is Of Monsters and Men’s third studio album Fever Dream, which encapsulates pretty much everything they’ve been and want to be.

When Of Monsters and Men first hit the scene, they arrived baring the same folk-rock sensibilities of other acts at the time, your Mumfords, Magnetic Zeroes and Lumineers. On Fever Dream, they kick up the production a few levels to the stadium-sized rock of something akin to Walk the Moon (“Alligator”) or the 1975 (“Stuck in Gravity”). This might have something to do with lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir’s decision to compose music using her computer as opposed to the acoustic guitar.

Despite this shift in composing, Fever Dream exists in a world all too familiar to anyone who’s listened to popular music over the past decade. Rather than introduce the band to a new platform or sound, the album keeps them entrenched among the other acts of the day. A question posed in “Ahay,” “You think you know me/ But do you really?,” is never answered, and they’ve still got nine songs to go. On top of being a bit unclear, it’s also a bit contrived. “It’s kinda hard to think about your own mortality”: not during the end times, my friend!

This inscrutability applies to the songs as well, where even their intros recall other, far more popular songs. The woodblock and hi-hats that herald “Róróró” evoke Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky” while “Soothsayer” almost dead-rings for TSwift’s “Style.” Hilmarsdóttir and the band’s other vocalist Ragnar Þórhallsson complement each other and their compositions well, but they lack the charisma to lend these tracks any major memorability.

For Fever Dream to really live up to its whimsical name, the band needed to rely more on the embellishments that could separate their compositions from their competition. The lonely brass present in “Waiting for the Snow” offers a nice horn flourish, something more bands like OMAM may want to consider. Not all bands with horn sections sound like Reel Big Fish. The unexpected transition into the chorus of “Sleepwalker” offers another moment where the band stands to learn something about the power of surprises. Truly though, the standout moment happens on “Under a Dome,” which plows along with its booming, offbeat bass drum and whirring synth lines. Epic and sweeping, it lands as a saving grace for the album, albeit one far too late.

Understandably, Of Monsters and Men desire to break through as more than a (admittedly sizable) blip on the musical radar of the 2010s. Suffice it to say Fever Dream will fail to accomplish this, though its decent musicianship should allow them at least another chance to try again in the 2020s.

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