The Monochrome Set have been around on and off for the better part of forty-five years and Strange Boutique was their first of a sixteen-album career.
They were originally in a band with Adam Ant and they use the tribal drums to great effect on the groups self-titled opener which takes two and a half minutes before the vocals arrive and lead singer Bid has a laid back, talking style vocal range with something there that draws you in, weird but a good start.
There is a cleverness here, maybe unfairly from me, they know this but who cares when they can produce something as interesting and clever as The Lighter Side of Dating, bizarre but brilliant lyrics and Expresso reminds me of Orange Juice, it took me three listens but it hit me, I may be wrong, see if you agree?
Instrumentals pepper this album but enhance, not annoy and then they produce the wonderful Tomorrow Will Be Too Long which has a fantastic chorus and a lovely change of beat and Martians Go Home makes no sense to me at all, maybe that’s the point.
Love Goes Down the Drain could be on a Half Man Half Biscuit album, that’s high praise from me and Ici les enfants contains the magical line to me “You’ve been driving my middle-aged blood pressure up,” played over a beautiful melody.
Goodbye Joe is almost straightforward mainly just guitar and vocals before we end with the title track with an organ sound that the Inspiral Carpets must have loved.
This is quirky and intelligent, I did not know it, but it will be added to the record collection.
GIVE IT A STREAM: Love Goes Down the Drain