The New Monarchs Blueprints

The New Monarchs Blueprints
The New Monarchs started off like many alternative/electro acts out there — they started as a traditional four-piece rock outfit, gradually lost a few band members over the years and ended up experimenting with electronics for the final product. The Minneapolis-based duo of Sean Hogan and Taylor Nelson list influences such as Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, and have even had a few comparisons to the legends by overenthusiastic music writers. While a strained ear could pick up a similarity between the glitchy ambience of tracks like "Off the Record" and "Surprises" and Radiohead's brilliant Kid A, they are by no means in the same league, let alone ballpark. Their debut LP, Blueprints, struggles with the development of its songs. A good majority of the tracks lack the ability to emerge from the background as they progress and actively engage the listener. While some are strong enough to stand on their own (such as "Across Your Hands" and the Bloodsport-esque "You'll Always Know"), the glowering vocals and tolerable alt-electro collaborations definitely make for an album that needs more than a few spins to distinguish whether you love or hate it. (Soup Bowl)