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Album Review: Monarchy- Around The Sun

After following these guys on twitter and reading their tweets about the “soon to be released” album for what has felt like an eternity, it’s finally here: rearranged, renamed, and refined. Everything about this album has been something of a mystery – when the duo began writing it, why the release date was ever delayed, why there’s been so much secrecy at all… and now, even the songs themselves have a mysterious feel to them. But one thing is for sure – we’ve all been looking forward to it, and this aura of ambiguity has only fuelled our interest, whether we like them or not.

Black, The Colour Of My Heart is a perfect album opener, gently teasing us with what to expect and setting the bar high for the remainder of the album. With heartfelt tracks like Love Get Out Of My Way and Jealous Guy, these guys have created an amalgamation of artificial synth music and a true, catchy pop song. (Except there’s probably another fancy name for this kind of music, because it’s certainly not ‘The Saturdays’ kind of pop, but everyone seems to classify things differently these days so I just won’t go into that.) There are plenty of songs with metaphors about stars and moons and the like, but thanks to the sounds of chiming beats and catchy melodies, you can overlook that if you so wish.

Sweet-sounding refrains a-plenty, there’s a lot on this album for you to get stuck in your head. I was, however, rather frustrated by the half-way mark; by this point it had brought to light how each song starts out great, not sounding like the one you just heard, but it plateaus rather disappointingly by the time it reaches the chorus. It was like they haven’t quite been able to manifest their ideas at the crucial moment. Then there was the one and a half minute Around The Sun seven tracks in which not only caused me immense confusion as to what it’s purpose was but also made me concerned as to why on earth his voice had transformed into that of a weird cartoon character.

I think because of the great deal of hype that’s been surrounding these guys since 2009, together with their impenetrable mystery, we all had high expectations. It’s almost as if they had a name, a standard set for them before they even released anything.  In my opinion, they’ve fallen exasperatingly short of the bar they’ve set for themselves. But it’s still a good album. Maybe I just expected too much.

For the full album stream on Soundcloud, click here.

www.monarchysound.com

-Charlie Clarkson



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