Okay, I admit it. The pink haired half woman half butterfly on the front cover drew me in. I was fooled! However, Matt Gilmore and Austin Tate - collectively known as Monarch White - have come up with an album of easygoing folk pop that plays nicely while not being particularly interesting or having lasting appeal. This album is the result of many years of experience. Was it worth the wait?
"Heaven Send" is a welcome opener, a perfect introduction to their lo-fi indie-rock sound. "I'm Beautiful (The Secret Song)" follows, and continues in the same vein. There's no extra appeal on "Beauty", and the lack of any instruments beyond acoustic guitars leaves the album feeling a little bare. Ultimately the depth of the lyrics is lost on the listener, which is a real shame.
"Railway Man" is a smart, if rather depressing look at why we age. That is to say, the lyrics - obviously the strong point - seem altogether too clever for the rather primitive guitars. The album briefly comes to life on "Penny for Your Thoughts", which boasts what most of the aforementioned songs lack - a well-weaved chord structure. You can't help but listen.
The album picks up towards the end, but the first few songs are paramount to a good album - people switch off easily - and perhaps it's the order of this album that lets it down.
While it's by no means unlistenable, this album will probably not last long in your affections. The duo is undoubtedly talented but perhaps would benefit from adding more to their sound.