Skip to main content

Single Review: Natalie and The Monarchy – 'Envy the Villain'

by Will Gough

Liverpool’s favourite dark theatrical grunge act, Natalie and The Monarchy, return with their new single, ‘Envy the Villain’. Singing of previous experiences of an identity crisis while working as a professional dominatrix, Natalie Papa’s distinctive and haunting vocals sings in support of sex workers who struggle with their conflicting dominating characters of sexual fantasies and their normal day-to-day personalities. The single’s topic alone is a unique one, but ‘Envy the Villain’ serves

as yet another example of Natalie and The Monarchy’s strange but entertaining dark cabaret style.

Following the trend of their previous work, most notably the 2019 EP ‘Pretty Little Flower’, ‘Envy the

Villain’ is a powerful and strange grunge anthem that challenges popular music both with its theme

and with its unmistakable noise. Although Papa demands your attention with her powerful, icy

vocals and dominating presence, the ‘Monarchy’ that make up the rest of the band produce a

musical powerhouse that works together to create an iconic, coherent grunge sound. We don’t get

as many satisfying instrumental breakaways or solos as we were given in previous tracks like

‘Daisies’ and ‘Wise Man’, but overall the band sound just as striking as in their previous releases.

Papa’s self-description of Natalie and The Monarchy falling somewhere between grunge and

theatrics is an apt one, as the song’s music video offers a dark, strange and captivating performance.

With imagery of wilted flowers, black latex and the wanton destruction of a perfectly good cake, the

music video for Envy the Villain is just as wild, strange and awesome as it sounds, with the shock and

strangeness factor that would definitely upset your mildly conservative parents. Listening to this

song without watching the music video genuinely seems a disservice, especially as similar sinister

theatrics present in the previous ‘Daisies’ music video can also be found here. – ‘Envy the Villain’ music video – ‘Daisies’ music video

Overall, Envy the Villain is a dark, challenging and captivating dark-cabaret-style single that is

pleasing for just how brash and unique it is in both its theme and its sound. Natalie and The

Monarchy clearly have a distinctive sound and dramatic element that they have already made their

own, and now it’s just a question of seeing where they take us with it. Hopefully to a town near you!


Most Popular

Single Review: ‘Tell Me’ - Jay Moussa-Mann

by Ilana Hawdon The feeling of pure betrayal and heartbreak is perfectly captured in Jay Moussa-Mann’s latest single, ‘Tell Me’. Jay Moussa-Mann is the folk dream we have been waiting for. A favourite on BBC Introducing, Radio 6 and BBC Radio Tees, Jay ’s sound is easy on the ears but delightfully addictive. With a background in writing and film, she began her solo musical venture when she released her debut album, ‘Little Deaths’ in late-2019, and since then, Moussa-Mann has defined herself as an artist with unbelievable range and promise.    ‘Tell Me’ is completely timeless; with notes of Carole King and Joni Mitchell, Moussa-Mann creates a folk-inspired track which is simultaneously heart wrenching and strangely empowering. Beginning as a simple guitar tune, ‘Tell Me’ builds with layers of luscious strings and twinkling piano, tied together with Jay ’s vocal line which is equal parts melancholic and divine. The song feels unwaveringly intimate; the lyrics ask, ‘what was I worth?’

Tramlines Festival 2021 Confirmed For Events Research Programme

by Emily Duff Sold-out Tramlines Festival will go ahead at full capacity in Sheffield’s Hillsborough Park from July 23rd to 25th as part of Events Research Programme following the likes of Download Festival that successfully took place over the 4th-6th or June.    Announced just twenty five minutes ago (12pm, June 29th) that it will join the third phase of the Government’s Events Research Programme, this means the sold-out music festival will definitely take place at full capacity on 23rd to 25th July.    With huge names like The Streets, Royal Blood and Richard Ashcroft headlining alongside Little Simz, BLOXX and others - Tramlines has a world-class lineup of music and culture prepared for the last weekend in July.    Tramlines’ participation in the programme means the festival can go ahead independently of national reopening dates - meaning it’s not dependent on the loose July 19th date - and the audience will be able to enjoy the event without compulsory social distancing or masks.

Single Review: 'So Deep' - Brianna Knight

 by Emily Jackson New York-based singer-songwriter Brianna Knight’s latest track, 'So Deep', is a declaration of love without any soppiness; it’s pure soul. With a voice like honey that oozes power and control at the mastery level of some of her biggest influences (Lauryn Hill and H.E.R.), Brianna’s vocals soar.  ‘So Deep’ is an intoxicating listen and in just under three minutes, Knight sells you a whole story about fun, lust-filled young love. The heavy funk bass line evokes nostalgia, making you want to get up and dance, whilst keeping things contemporary by being an upbeat tale of passion rather than your bog-standard ballad. Brianna’s sound blends 90’s R’n’B with a modern take on Soul; hearing just the first few notes is enough to wish that she could narrate your wildest nights and worst heartaches.   As Brianna sings “you’re addictive to me” - you stop and realise that you may just be addicted to her. Just before you think the single couldn’t get better, the first verse c