Merging the vocal talents of Brennan Strawn and the instrumental prowess of OneRepublic member Brent Kutzle, "Sea & Sky" is the newest offering from the Los Angeles-based synth-pop group named Monarch (not to be confused with the French metal band of the same name). Whether you gearing up for Easter or in the midst of Passover, We Are: The Guard is here to take a Good Friday listen to their latest song.



Considered veterans among the indies, Monarch has been around for over a decade. Despite holding true to their melodic-pop sound, "Sea & Sky" could not be more different from most of their catalog. Whereas their previous release, "She Walked Away," contained a more classic Monarch, this track draws heavily from the electronic influence present in such tracks like "Betrayed By A Kiss" and their self-titled EP. Under the influence of Kutzle and another musician from OneRepublic, Brian Willet, the direction of their music has certainly surpassed just simple melodic and has now headed towards more melodramatic sounding numbers. “Kill me now/Let us out” doesn’t exactly scream positivity. Quite frankly, the morbid lyrics almost rips the enjoyability from the listener’s experience.

"Sea & Sky" starts off with strings, the sound that propelled Kutzle into the mainstream. The rest of the track is the true definition of synth-pop. The hazy and electronically-altered lead vocals prove to be an excellent accompaniment to the near-cinematic presence of the musical track. SoCal native Joel Plotnik provides his drumming expertise to the group, which seems a little overshadowed here. Currently, Monarch follows the theme of the borrowing from eighties pop tunes down to the compositions and even their embrace of a very eighties interpretation of their album artwork and choice of font faces. It seems clear the band is drawing upon various influences, as I notice a lot of the grandeur from OneRepublic rubbing off the musical direction. This might not necessarily be a bad thing. Hopefully, this is a necessary evolution for Monarch to ascend above the confines of the indie circuit.