Review: Monarchs, ‘Citizens’

Posted 3 years ago by Joel Funk

I often opt to tell people that the music I listen to would be classified as Alternative. I say this because I consider the subcategories of music we cover to fit comfortably under that umbrella. I do this mostly because it’s easier to get somebody unfamiliar with the music to check out an alternative band than to get them to listen to, say, an emo band, because most people will dismiss them before giving them a shot.

That being said, I can acknowledge that alternative is a genre, not just an umbrella. It’s just not often that a straightforward alternative band really catches my ear. I think it has something to do with the fact that this music can feel very formulaic. One artist will find some success doing one thing, and many will follow suit. This is what makes the guys in Monarchs stand out to me. Their approach feels familiar, but it feels fresh.

On their debut EP ‘Citizens’ we’re introduced to a band that sounds like early Foo Fighters. The music feels lighthearted and is easy to listen to. On top of that, the chorus of each song feels like the most important piece of the puzzle. I know what you’re thinking, the chorus is the most important piece of the puzzle. I would argue that you can usually get as much out of a verse as you can get out of a chorus. I can think of a few bands that don’t seem to acknowledge the idea of a chorus being necessary.

Monarchs has made it a point to make sure those choruses are stuck in your head, and are the parts of each track that you remember most fondly. The more I listen to this EP, the more I can hear a cover of “Learn To Fly” sneaking it’s way into the tracklist without feeling out of place.

The first track on ‘Citizens’ is called “Young Citizens.” The opening riff alone will have you nostalgic for early 00’s alternative rock. I’ve already made the comparison to Foo Fighters, but it’s the theatrical cadence that their vocalist brings to the table that makes me miss bands like Madina Lake and Gatsby’s American Dream. I can only really remember a single or two from each band, but I remember them feeling just as theatric.

It’s strange that this record came out in November. I could see this album coming out in late August/early September. The light hearted quality the songs have sonically just feel very end of summer, not quite fall. I associate certain genres and certain sounds with different times of year. We’ve talked about this in other reviews though, so I won’t do that to you again.

‘Citizens’ is a fantastic debut effort from Monarchs. The only thing that could have helped this album reach more people is timing. I say that a lot, but I feel like that can make or break the reception of an album. If this had been released just a few months earlier, I think people would have it eaten it up. The music feels lighthearted, but the lyrics are anything but. Which is perfect for the start of fall.

I’m interested to see what comes next for this band. Here’s to hoping we get an LP full of this Foo Fighter-esque greatness sooner than later.