Monday, April 27, 2020

Monarch- Beyond the Blue Sky (El Paraiso Records EPR053CD)

Monarch is a San Diego based band that features Thomas (JOY, Sacri Monti) on guitar, synths, saxophone, organ and more.  The bass player, Matt Weiss, used to be in Radio Moscow. This is the bands 3rd release with the first being an EP back in Oct 2014.  The band also features: James Upton on Guitars, Dominic Denholm on Vocals, Guitar and Synth, and Andrew Ware on drums. This album, like the last is released on the Causa Sui label. Hanging by a Thread starts off really spacey with some synths sounds that slowly get louder before the first guitar line enters. You have organ and synths to compliment the dual guitar lines. The vocals kick in after a few minutes and are quite laid back on this psych rocker! Divided Path slows things down and again features a lot of dual harmony guitars and steady groove. Thomas lays down a sax solo that gives this track a totally different vibe. Some Rhodes like keys in the background as well that sort of echo into the sound and you think the track is over but no!!  A slow build and the band returns! Pangea is next. Wonder if they took this from the Miles Davis album of the same title?? It starts with piano and spaced out synths. This one quickly becomes a rocker though with a cool wah guitar and layers of harmony guitars and a hard riff at times.  They go and return to the theme that started it off now and again. The vocals don’t kick in until 3 mins.  Great 6min track. The title track is next and a bit of southern rock feel it (just a little!). This track also features one of the longest guitar solos. There are plenty on this record but they tend to be quite short but here they really let it rip!  Phenomena is a short instrumental track that leads into Counterpart which starts very melodic but builds into a great rocker with a nice wah guitar solo section.  Some synths come flying in as well to make it more psyched out and then you blast into the Thin Lizzy dual guitar parts once again. Felo de Se ends this records with a sort of epic track. I have to say this is a great record following in the footsteps of the last one. It reminds me of the energy of the last Sacri Monti record as well with the same kind of drive, guitar interplay and harmonies but this is more psychedelic.

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