Review Summary: Summer time bliss...
An emerging band, the San Diego natives, Monarch have landed a deal with Causa Sui’s label, El Paraiso Records. For a debut, this is quite a lucky strike as the Danish quartet operates at high levels of quality. Much like their label mates, these Americans have crafted a lovely album full of summery grooves. Perfect for those sunny days, Two Isles
flows naturally, touching several heights within the psychedelic rock sphere. The SoCal area has always been a haven for the respective genre, so there’s a certain style developed there. There’s a nice blend of old and new here that fans will surely enjoy, as influences start from The Allman Brothers or Camel (among other classic acts) and continue to contemporary acts from the area such as Earthless, Golden Void or Astra.
Monarch don’t stray too far from their roots and deliver a short, lush record. ‘Assent’ and ‘Dancers of the Sun’ boast that lovely pastoral atmosphere, a perfect soundtrack for a walk through the forest or on the beach. The steady rhythms and dual guitar leads are taken right out of the ‘70s, plus the multi layered vocals only add to that pastiche. Meanwhile, ‘Hundreds, Thousands, Millions’ takes a more gentle approach with effects-soaked, picked chords on top of a deep bass line that accompanies really well the quiet yet driving drum patterns. The band occasionally breaks into short riffs, however, it’s clear they’re not the main focus here. Only ‘Sedna’s Fervor’ jumps in some powerful moments, before returning to established routes on the 10-minute epic, ‘Shady Maiden’ along with the title track. The former features a hypnotic hook, complete with multiple detours where the guitar takes off on extended solos while the rest keep the groove, whereas the latter mixes everything heard before into a sweet closer that is both engaging and blissful. Vocals are a highlight here, still everyone does a great job. There’s nothing revolutionary about Two Isles
, but it’s a damn great and compelling record, thus assuring repeated spins. Fewer records today are as simple and welcoming as this one, so I’m happy to have stumbled upon it. Dig it!