I’m usually listening to orchestral music, but this song has been stuck in my head a lot lately. The melody is almost pentatonic (think Fiona’s theme from Shrek), but then it dips down to the subdominant, adding an additional note for a hexatonic melody, a basic major scale that just avoids the subtonic. But I think what makes it catchy is that it sounds like it shifts between two pentatonic scales, one based on the tonic, the other on the subdominant. And the chords emphasize these shifts; they sound like just vi-I-IV progressions (submediant, tonic, subdominant). Very simple. (I’m not sure how accurate all that music theory is; I haven’t closely analyzed it, and I’m not a brilliant music theorist anyway. But that’s what it sounds like.)
The band’s song “Little Talks” subconsciously dug it’s way into my head after hearing it repeatedly on the radio. So I explored more of their songs on Spotify, and found most of them to be just as catchy. The lyrics are also more imaginative. They seem to have a spirit of Scandinavian mythology about them, what with bones and mountains and forests and animals with spiritual connotations.
Maybe I’ll pick up the album on which the song appears, My Head Is an Animal, when I buy the deluxe edition of the Les Miserables soundtrack when it comes out later this month.