‘Cosmonaut’ by The Monochrome Set (Album)

16 September, 2016 in Music Reviews

The Monochrome Set

The Monochrome Set: equally capable of nostalgia and deviant whimsy

The Monochrome Set 'Cosmonaut' album cover

The pioneering art-pop band return with a thirteenth record that continues their tradition of matching catchy guitars with warped topics

The warble of a theremin and clang of a guitar announces the arrival of the new record from Morrissey and Marr favourites, The Monochrome Set. It’s the band’s thirteenth album and the fourth since they reunited in 2012. With founding member and frontman Bid leading the way on songwriting duties, you are launched straight back into their weird and esoteric world.

Fans of Stuart Murdoch and Neil Hannon yet to discover the work of Bid and his band are in for a treat. Suddenly, Last Autumn provides a hugely catchy recipe for wannabe cannibals: ‘Human flesh at Gas Mark 7, forty-minutes and it’s done.’ Tigress is haunting in its straightforwardness, a tale of loss which fades out with devastating effect. Squirrel In A Hat finds the band at their frivolous best, lamenting the enviable freedom of the creature in question. These are the parameters The Monochrome Set work within, equally capable of nostalgia and deviant whimsy.

Another standout song is the off-kilter and organ-led Monkey Suitcase, which takes you on a dreamlike trip filled with some of Bid’s most delicious imagery. It’s the perfect representation of the band, and Cosmonaut as a whole. If carefully constructed guitar pop delivered with a knowing wink is your thing, then The Monochrome Set are still up there with the best.

Verdict: Four decades in and still going strong

Duncan Haskell