Live Review: Of Monsters & Men, The Falls - The Zoo

19 July 2012 | 2:17 pm | Benny Doyle

As contrived as it might sound in an ever-cynical world, it’s hard to watch Of Monsters And Men and not forget all your problems.

Although it may seem like a thin midweek bill on paper, it's very much a case of quality over quantity tonight, the packed room attesting to the fact. Warming the stage are Sydney duo The Falls, and they are consistently magnificent, the former lovers of Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown spilling the highs and lows of their time together across the stage. As well as more established tracks like first single Home, the duo also treat Brisbane to an exclusive taste of their soon-to-be-released EP Hollywood. Their drifting folk pop is vulnerable and raw; the music, and even at times their facial expressions, capturing those former times of love and heartache like a tuneful snapshot in time

Icelandic sextet Of Monsters And Men have brought with them a boatload of hype on this, their first voyage to Australia. They've seemingly come out of nowhere in the past 12 months, but after spending an hour in their company it's obvious that the plaudits and attention are justified. The band open with Dirty Paws, just one of the many “la la” heavy songs that make up their debut LP My Head Is An Animal, and a genuine joy immediately exudes from the stage, a vibe that doesn't dwindle throughout. Led by twin vocalists Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar þóhallsson, the collective run at seven tonight with an additional mystery blonde multi-instrumentalist. They are scattered about the stage, battling jetlag against a contradicting backdrop of shimmering gold, pink and blue, but they don't for one second let lethargy slow their momentum.

The show is crammed full of grand folk highlights; the dancing piano and gleeful chorus of Mountain Sound; the nomadic joy found in From Finner; the climatic eruption of Lakehouse. But two tracks stand tall as the pinnacles of the evening: Lionheart is a breathtaking moment that makes you feel like you can take on the world, while Little Talks, the track that's helped generate their mushrooming international profile, wraps you up like a warm woollen blanket, the accordion and brass dancing about the room, forcing the crowd to jig and swing like drunken sailors.

As contrived as it might sound in an ever-cynical world, it's hard to watch Of Monsters And Men and not forget all your problems. Their grasp on harmony is disarming and welcome, and the performance tonight has been easy to lose yourself within. The group's fresh-faced youthfulness is masked by confident playing, honest chemistry and a swag of songs that most bands won't accumulate in a lifetime. Forget the blogs, forget the buzz. All you need to focus on here is the music, and tonight it was simply transcending.

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