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The Monochrome Set

When the British art school punk band the B-Sides changed their name and direction to become Adam & the Ants, guitarist/vocalist Bid and guitarist Lester Square opted out to form their own group, the Monochrome Set. Founded in London in 1978, the band (also comprising ex-Gloria Mundi and Mean Street bassist Jeremy Harrington and former Art Attacks drummer J.D. Crowe) was quickly snapped up by the Rough Trade label, and during 1979 issued three singles -- "He's Frank," "Eine Symphonie des Grauens," and its signature number, "Monochrome Set" -- all completely different in content and stylistic approach.

After former B-Sides bassist Andy Warren grew tired of life in Adam & the Ants, he rejoined bandmates Bid and Square, replacing Harrington. In 1980, the Monochrome Set released their debut album, the cabaret-flavored Strange Boutique, followed later that year by the singles "405 Lines" and "Apocalypso" as well as another, more accessible full-length effort, Love Zombies. Complete with new guitarist Foz, keyboardist Caroline Booth, and drummer Nick Wesolowski, they returned in 1982 with a cleaner, more melodic sound on the LP Eligible Bachelors; "The Jet Set Junta," a satiric jab at the Falklands Islands conflict, became a significant hit the next year. The compilation Volume, Contrast, Brilliance: Sessions & Singles, Vol. 1 also appeared in 1983.

Following the departure of Square, the Monochrome Set veered even closer to light pop fare on singles like 1985's "Jacob's Ladder"; the sound subsequently crystallized on the nostalgically themed LP The Lost Weekend. When the record met with a dismal commercial response, the group disbanded, only to re-form in 1989 around the nucleus of Bid, Square, and Warren along with new keyboardist Orson Presence. The 1990 album Dante's Casino did little to raise the Monochrome Set's chart visibility, but the band soldiered on, releasing Charade in 1993, Misere in 1994, and Trinity Road in 1995. They broke up in 1998 while Bid formed a new band, Scarlet's Well. In 2011, members of the Well joined a reunited Monochrome Set, which also featured Bid, Square, and Warren. Signed to the Disquo Bleu label, the band released Platinum Coils in 2012 and Super Plastic City in 2013. Spaces Everywhere (2015) found them on their new home of Tapete Records, the label that a year later would release Volume, Contrast, Brilliance: Unreleased & Rare, Vol. 2, a sequel to their 1983 set. The group stuck with Tapete for its next album, 2016's Cosmonaut, which featured Bid playing all the guitars due to the departure of Square. The band also welcomed John Paul Moran back on keyboards. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Lost Weekend (Expanded Edition)

1. Jacob's Ladder

2. Sugarplum

3. Cargo

4. Take Foz

5. Letter From Viola

6. Don't Touch

7. The Twitch

8. Wallflower

9. Starry Nowhere

10. Boom Boom

11. Cowboy Country

12. Andiamo

13. Le Boom Boom

14. Yo, Ho, Ho, And Three Bottles Of Wine

15. Big Ben Bongo

16. Wallflower (The Saloon Bar Mix)

17. Wallflower (Public Bar Mix)

x

Track List: Cosmonaut

1. Cosmonaut

2. Suddenly, Last Autumn

3. Squirrel In A Hat

4. Put It On The Altar

5. Tigress

6. Stick Your Hand Up If You're Louche

7. Fêlé

8. Kingfisher Blue

9. Monkey Suitcase

10. Lost In My Own Room, Dreaming

x

Track List: Super Plastic City

1. Super Plastic City

2. The Time I've Spent Doing Nothing

3. If I Could Be Woebegone

4. Lefty

5. I Dream Of Spring

6. Strange Young Alien

7. Handed-Down Memory

8. Isn't It A Wonderful Life

9. Dark Red Rose

10. Turn It Off

11. Rotten Ralph's Custard Carnival

x

Track List: Platinum Coils

1. Hip Kitten Spinning Chrome

2. I Can't Control My Feet

3. Waiting For Alberto

4. On My Balcony

5. Free, Free, Free

6. Mein Kapitan

7. Cauchemar

8. They Call Me Silence

9. Les Cowboys

10. Streams

11. I'm Happy To Be Here

12. Brush With Death

x

Track List: The Independent Singles Collection

1. He's Frank

2. Alphaville

3. Eine Symphonie Des Grauens

4. Lester Leaps In

5. The Monochrome Set

6. Mr Bizarro

7. He's Frank (Slight Return)

8. Silicon Carne

9. Fallout

10. The Mating Game

11. J.D.H.A.N.E.Y.

12. Cast A Long Shadow

13. The Bridge

14. The Jet Set Junta

15. Love Goes Down The Drain

16. Killing Dave

17. House Of God (Live)

18. Sweet Death

19. Forever Young

20. Hurting You

21. Little Noises

22. I Love Lambeth

23. Kissy Kissy

24. All Over

25. Closing Time

x

Track List: He's Frank... We're The Monochrome Set

1. The Monochrome Set (I Presume)

2. He's Frank (Slight Return)

3. I Love Lambeth

4. The Mating Game

5. J.D.H.A.N.E.Y

6. Jacob's Ladder

7. Eine Symphonie Des Grauens

8. Silicon Carne

9. Love Goes Down The Drain

10. Jet Set Junta

x

Track List: Charade

1. Prelude

2. Forever Young

3. Clover

4. Snowgirl

5. White Garden

6. Her Pain

7. Little Noises

8. Crystal Chamber

9. Girl

10. Oh Angie

11. Talking About You

12. No Time For Girls

13. Christine

14. Tilt

x

Track List: Tomorrow Will Be Too Long

1. The Monochrome Set (I Presume)

2. The Lighter Side Of Dating

3. Expresso

4. The Puerto Rican Fence Climber

5. Tomorrow Will Be Too Long

6. Martians Go Home

7. Love Goes Down The Drain

8. Ici Les Enfants

9. The Etcetera Stroll

10. Goodbye Joe

11. The Strange Boutique

12. Love Zombies

14. 405 Lines

15. B-I-D Spells Bid

16. Rsvp

17. Apocalypso

19. The Man With The Black Moustache

20. The Weird, Wild Wonderful World Of Tony Potts

21. In Love, Cancer?

x

Track List: Black And White Minstrels

1. Inside Your Heart

2. White Noise

3. We Are Zarbie

4. I Don't Know

5. Flesh/Trash/Heat

6. Private Dick

7. It's More Than Just Love

8. He's Frank (Slight Return)

9. Silicon Carne

10. Fallout

11. Alphaville

12. He's Frank

13. Eine Symphonie Des Grauens

14. Lester Leaps In

15. The Monochrome Set

16. Mr Bizarro

x

Track List: What A Whopper!

1. Black Are The Flowers

2. Espresso

3. Ten Don'ts For Honeymooners

4. Yo Ho Ho

5. The Man With The Black Moustache

6. Martians Go Home

7. Swing

8. Fall Out

9. Andiamo

10. Life

11. Straits Of Malacca

12. Sugar Plum

13. Goodbye Joe

14. Strange Boutique

15. Sukra Sawdhmani

16. Black Chapati

x

Track List: Westminster Affair

1. The Jet Set Junta

2. Cast A Long Shadow

3. The Ruling Class

4. Lester Leaps In

5. The Mating Game

6. On The 13th Day

7. March Of The Eligible Bachelors

8. The Devil Rides Out

9. Fun For All The Family

10. Fat Fun

11. Andiamo

12. Cowboy Country

13. J.D.H.A.N.E.Y.

14. Noise

15. Eine Symphonie Des Grauens

16. Viva Death Row

17. Jacob's Ladder

18. Ici Les Enfants

19. Avanti

x

Track List: Fin

1. He's Frank

2. Martians Go Home

3. Sraits Of Malacca

4. Sugar Plum

5. B-I-D Spells Bid

6. Alphaville

7. Heaven Can Wait

8. Goodbye Joe

9. Strange Boutique

10. Strange Boutique (Reprise)

11. Jacob's Ladder

12. Wallflower

13. Apocalypso

14. Mr. Bizarro

15. I'll Cry Instead

16. Espresso

17. 405Lines

18. Eine Symphonie Des Grauens

19. The Monochrome Set

x

Track List: Eligible Bachelors

1. The Jet Set Junta

2. I'll Scry Instead

3. On The Thirteenth Day

4. Cloud 10

5. The Mating Game

6. March Of The Eligible Bachelors

7. The Devil Rides Out

8. Fun For All The Family

9. The Midas Touch

10. The Ruling Class

11. The Great Barrier Riff

Comments

Report as inappropriate
david.burns6 0
Foz didn't join the band until 1985. Lester Square was still guitarist for Jet Set Junta Eligible Bachelors LP.

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