Live Review: Of Monsters & Men, The Falls, The Trouble With Templeton

24 July 2012 | 10:10 am | Chris Hayden

'Amazing' is a word that gets thrown around a lot. Whether it's a meal, a book, a dog or an iPhone app – it seems like a prerequisite of recent pop culture for everything to blow everyone's minds all of the time. Icelandic seven-piece Of Monsters & Men have evidently been paying close attention to this and at this Corner show, like it or not, they go for amazing at every conceivable occasion.

Opening proceedings are Sydney two-piece The Falls. Drawing a relatively familiar line in harmonic folk, they combine well to sooth a relatively strong early crowd. Apparently these two used to be lovers but have since broken up, have documented the whole thing and have chosen the chatty pubs of the Australian live circuit to showcase the results. Might be a bit awkward in the tour bus then, and let's be honest, it's always a bit disappointing when the answer to “are they or aren't they?” can be found with a quick trip to triple j Unearthed. Whatever happened to the Meg and Jack White approach?

Brisbane's finest, The Trouble With Templeton (aka Thomas Calder), shuffles on stage next, immediately sending a ripple through the crowd with his crystal clear voice and furious fingerpicking. The recipient of many a prized support slots in the last six months, it's not hard to see why Calder is being positioned as the heir to the Australian lit-pop throne recently held by the likes of Josh Pyke and Paul Dempsey.

Kicking off with Dirty Paws, it is apparent early that there is a lot of love for Of Monsters & Men in Australia. Hands go immediately skyward, fingers point and throats open all over the place. Exactly how they've managed to amass such devotion in such a short amount of time (the band only formed in 2010) is almost certainly down to the effortlessly epic nature of their songs. Dual lead vocalists Ragnar þórhallsson and Nanna Hilmarsdóttir have a distinctly European vocal bent. Their turns of phrase are so simplistic and (at times) bizarre, it's as if they've only just discovered the English language. This is massively endearing and the strong Friday night crowd lap up every inflection. Popular single Little Talks is met with fervour and rounded off a run of about eight consecutive sing-alongs. For most bands, re-using this kind of technique would seem obvious and tacky but Of Monsters & Men's unaffected and joyful delivery render it honest, convincing and, yeah, kind of amazing.

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