A Monarchy in the U.K.
Monarchy is made up of the duo Andrew Armstrong (DJ, producer) and Ra Black (vocals, lyrics). Abnocto is their second full-length album release. The two are based in England and have made their rounds performing at big venues such as XOYO and HMV Forum. They’ve also performed at festivals all over the world, including locations in the United States, France, and Sweden. The experience that Monarchy have from performing live seems to have affected their music; it sounds as if it were made for venues that large audiences can enjoy.
Abnocto isn’t an album filled with songs that follow a cohesive theme or have the same vibe. Each song seems to have its own unique voice that carries strong emotion and passion within the lyrics and captivating sound. Despite the fact that some songs seem to have little political meaning, tracks like “Dancing In The Corner,” seem to be related to politics. This is obvious due to lyrics such as, “We’re on the black list, we’re not welcome anymore.” And also the lyric, “Not gonna give in, not gonna give in to the law.” This is political because the message is that no one can stop what you believe in, and it urges listeners to fight the system. Armstrong has some personal experience with this since he has recently come out as gay. In a way, this has influenced his art and informed his themes about darkness and love, considering he stayed quiet about his sexuality for so long.
The track “Almost Human” has a more electronic sound then the majority of the album. Armstrong himself said that this album differs from the first due to its organic sound. He learned to leave in some of the mistakes, and this song especially sounds extremely authentic and sends a great message about what this album is all about.
“Disintegration” is the only track on Abnocto that features guest vocals. The guest is Dita Von Teese, whose vocals mesh well with Ra Black’s. The track is even more dance-like, taking a step further where “Almost Human” left off. The lyrics are clever: “Disintegration, suffocation, my life is taken, my annihilation.” “The Beautiful Ones” is an album highlight that has strong imagery in the lyrics. It starts off with, “We’re standing together, a world to discover.” The lyrics continue to paint listeners a beautifully intriguing picture of emotions. All the while, it also includes an interesting and catchy dance beat.
Collectively, Abnocto is an excellent second full-length album release. While many of its songs have previously been released on EP Almost Human and single Living Without You, it has a few surprises to offer as well. The album gives audiences a glimpse of Monarchy’s enormous potential. This is only the second album, but expect many more from the duo as their popularity continues to expand all over the world.