Monarch — Beyond the Blue Sky (Aug. 9, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)♠★♠      Adding yet another voice to the current wave of Cosmic Americana, the sophomore LP from SoCal psych five~piece Monarch wafts in on canyon breezes. “Beyond The Blue Sky” is faded in that Kodachrome sunburst hue, worn~in just the right amount but still with a bit of burn. The band makes the most of a six~minute tumbler — entwining twin guitars with the sun~in swagger of their ‘70s forebears and lighting up the solo like fellow West Coast CA toasters Howlin’ Rain. The track comes as a warning shot from their upcoming LP, also titled Beyond The Blue Sky, out later this summer on Denmark’s El Paraiso Records. If you missed out on their first LP, this one threatens to eclipse it nicely, so there’s time to catch up and crack in.
Location: San Diego, CA
Styles: Cosmic Americana, El Paraiso, Psych, West Coast Psych
Album release: August 9, 2019
Record Label: El Paraiso Records
Duration:     39:15
A1 Hanging by a Thread   7:06
A2 Divided Path   6:34
A3 Pangea   6:24
B1 Beyond the Blue Sky   6:17
B2 Phenomena   2:32
B3 Counterpart   4:12
B4 Felo de Se   5:50
★♠★     In recent years Southern California has proved to be fertile ground for heavy psych, prog and free rock. The amount of excellent bands growing out of the San Diego soil is simply unparalleled. Among the youngest generation of these bands are the five~piece Monarch, a band rooted in psychedelia and experimental prog, with a view towards broader horizons.
★♠★     There’s something refreshing about Monarch’s take on psychedelic rock: they aren’t afraid to weave allman brothers~esque dual guitar lines with synthesizers and saxophone. They can be heavy, but there’s an unmistakable panoramic quality to their compositions too, reflecting the rich and diverse environment they’ve grown up in, with dazzling pacific coastlines, mountains and desert highways.
★♠★     Compared to their debut album, ”Two Isles” from 2016, Beyond The Blue Sky is a more complex record. The three year journey has led the band through several separate recording sessions and ended up going all~analog at Audio Design studios. It’s an album that’s meticulously crafted and with sights set on new musical territory. Their songwriting has matured and each track feels like a mini~epic, travelling unexpected routes before reaching their sonic destination. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the album’s centerpiece, the three~part Beyond The Blue Sky/Phenomena/Counterpart, where Monarch manages to fuse all their influences into one mammoth composition. It’s an album to drive off into a careless summer sunset and beyond.