The Icelandic quintet ditch the floor stomping indie-folk sound that brought them to the mainstream in their newest album Fever Dream. The new darker sound may come as a surprise to listeners that know of OMAM from their radio hit “Little Talks” and “Dirty Paws,” but the band started moving towards heavier, more electric instrumentation on a few tracks of their sophomore effort Beneath the Skin. The sound change is as big and triumphant as the songs’ choruses.
The album opens with the first single released “Alligator.” A quick welcome to the band’s new sound. The guitar-heavy track is much more in line with fellow Icelandic band The Sugarcubes than the band’s past signature folk sound. The new sounds fit the band’s catchy and dark songwriting perfectly as Nanna screams “wake me up / I’m fever dreaming.”
The one disappointing track of the album comes with the second track “Ahay.” The track feels cheesy and underwhelming while a repetitive drum machine overpowers the song. The album gets back on track with the following song “Róróró.” The lyrics sound like they could have been pulled from one of Morrisey’s notebooks while the instrumentals follow a hypnotic drum pattern that repeats throughout (without getting repetitive).
OMAM’s underrated forte is their slow tracks. They create beautiful rich, expansive yet minimal, musical atmospheres that pair incredibly well with Nanna’s vocals. In the track “Waiting For The Snow” Nanna shows off her songwriting in a slow, pensive song. Pitched backing vocals and a sampled vocals through the track recall of her noted influences, Bon Iver. Nanna’s raspy, emotive vocals prove she is one of the more unique singers in the indie-pop world.
“Stuck In Gravity” and “Under A Dome” are two other great slow tracks that benefit from the more developed production of FEVER DREAM. The embrace of synthesizers helps lead the tracks into grandiose buildups.
The band not only managed to change their sounds, but do it successfully, mixing their indie-folk roots with alt-rock, disco, and elements dance music authentically. While the album will undoubtedly disappoint fans wanting more of “Little Talks,” it is a positive change for the band.
Standout Tracks: Alligator, Stuck In Gravity, Under A Dome, Wild Roses.