Monarchy - Around The Sun

Monarchy - Around The Sun

Unfortunately, most of the second half of the album falls flat.

Rating:

Dance records tend to be noisy, complicated affairs - as they should be. They’re the diamonds of the music world: only the most glittery, most sparkly sounds will do when it comes to getting bodies bumping and grinding on the dance floor. In those respects, Monarchy has ticked all the boxes production-wise with their R&B flavoured debut album, ‘Around The Sun’.

With such a sunny title, it may seem strange to start an album with a track like ‘Black, The Colour Of My Heart’ (it was Morrissey who sang, “I wear black on the outside, ‘cos black is how I feel on the inside”, if you recall). But actually, it’s a dramatic opening, like act I of an opera, with decadent compressed synths and a sultry vocal. This slower-paced intro is a good lead into the big, bright singles. ‘I Won’t Let Go’ is grand with its anthemic “there is no limit to my love” lyrics and crashing synth chords, as is faster paced and in-your-face ‘Love Get Outta My Way’.

Less showy is ‘The Phoenix Alive’, which hopefully will get more attention for its melodic chorus and overall beautifully restrained production. Of a similar vein is ‘Floating Cars’; both of these sound as sweet and as tasty as caramels left to melt in one’s mouth. In comparison, most of the second half of the album falls flat. The title track, while bouncy, seems by its placement on the album intended to act as an intermission, but it has no real purpose. The overly simplistic melody of ‘Maybe I’m Crazy’ sounds trite, as does ‘You Don’t Want to Dance with Me’, but expect these to appeal to the masses with their Hurts-like groove.

Also failing is ‘Jealous Guy’. It’s always a crapshoot how songs that have the same title as an already beloved song will fare. (Hello? John Lennon, anyone? Or even Bryan Ferry’s stab at it with Roxy Music?) This one’s not good. Album closer ‘Travelling by Ambulances’ is introspective and sad, which, unlike the starting track, is an odd choice to end a dance album. Maybe it ends on a melancholy note so we’re supposed to anticipate their second album?

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