There are two important connections to be made among this album’s cover art and its sound. The first is the way in which one figure seems to be leading the other; as Monarch is a duo, this image meshes nicely with the make-up of the band, the two individuals sounding throughout the album as though they’re cautiously and unselfishly escorting one another to each song’s destination. The second connection is between the illusory nature of the artwork and the matching sounds inside, sounds which are delicate and layered, intermixing to create a wondrous, thorough texture. The album has, at times, such a gentle composition you’d swear you could lay you head down on it for a nap.
I don’t dwell on the artwork as a means of skirting speaking more about the music on If Children, but, rather, because there are times when I listen to this when I’m uncertain I could properly articulate just how fragile and affecting this disc truly is. Monarch harvest from the ether majestic and vital tones and melodies, and arrange them into easily-digested, easily-enjoyed bits of pop perfection. The sound approximates a more apprehensible – but every bit as striking – Galaxie 500, but instead of creating atmosphere through recycled psychedelic tropes, Monarch opt for a much more lucid approach, with cleaner instruments and an overall crisper production. The emotion is there, but removed of aural grime.
If Children is introspective without being insular, and capable of communicating with both directness and endearment, and these qualities make a recommendation effortless. If you have any interest in the genre, acquire this album.