Layout 1It’s hard to place Former Monarchs‘ sound into a particular genre. The band incorporate various elements of post-rock, math rock and indie rock into their debut ‘The Cost Of Living’, an album the group have spent a rather hefty nine months perfecting. The immense amount of work that has been put into the album is evident in both the complexity of the music, and in the sleek production.

Dynamics play a rather pivotal role in the band’s sound, with the quiet verse, loud chorus technique surfacing throughout the record. Opener Origins is the perfect example of this with the shouted chorus exploding out of the elaborate guitar work of the verse.

Again, in the outro of Buyer Beware dramatic dynamic changes appear, with a wandering riff suddenly transforming into an epic explosion of energy and noise. Home followsa much more subdued track, and this constant changing between fast intensity and the slower calm sections ensure that ‘The Cost Of Living’ never loses its excitement.

In the second half of the album the band appear to be on a mission to be as big and grand as possible with both Battlelines and Clans climaxing with huge instrumental peaks. However the band pull it back slightly, with Mori being shorter and less intent in making the world explode, while the sweeping string section in 1000 Planes is surprisingly understated and soothing.

For all its brash ferocity, there are quite a few delicate and gentle moments on this record. There is perhaps a tendency that Former Monarch’s try to be too clever at times; they linger too long on a bridge, or throw in one melody too many when a simpler and more direct approach might be better, but that certainly this does not take away from what is a very well-crafted album.