Three years since their last record, Monarchy are back with a collection of tunes that all feel like approximations. There’s a general synth-funk vibe throughout (think Breakbot), and textures that sound like house and trap also make an appearance, but the elements mostly coalesce to form an inconsequential sludge.
Opening track Back To The Start is particularly egregious, its musical content basic to the point of being patronising, and while Deep Cut’s Pony-esque bass is appealing the lyrics aren’t much better (“just want to dive, dive, dive into the goo of you”?). Deadset Lust makes an impact with its explosive hook and sensual production, and is notable for being the only catchy track on Mid:Night.
The record ends with two slower songs, Racie’s Cousin and a track bizarrely named Cumming Coma. The former’s skittering arpeggiator and heavy bass is aesthetically interesting, though it’s best observed from a distance: across the record the songwriting is lacklustre, giving the impression that this music was never designed to weather close listening. The latter goes for the kind of EDM-trap that artists like David Guetta and Martin Garrix have been making a killing with, but the production values are too low, the drop botched. As a side note, the album is mastered in a way that makes the louder sections clip unpleasantly.
Most of Mid:Night is innocuous, its songs forgettable, their delivery bloodless. It attempts to mine a rich tradition in a uniquely shallow way, the tracks sound as if the duo think funk was invented by Mark Ronson in 2014. If you’re a Spotify employee looking for more tracks on a nu-disco themed playlist the title track will do, but there isn’t much of substance here for anyone else.