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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!

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