Monochrome Set -‘Maisieworld.’ (Tapete)
“…Playful vocals sing of your frail organic nature, the sad dreams and hopes that you entertain, and the dismal decisions you make. Scenes of a different imagination tear you like brittle canvas and rearrange your portrait into another’s fantasy.
Upon your exit from Maisieworld, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that your vessel is now filled with abnormal thoughts.
Caution : May contain nuts. And bolts.”
Excerpt from press release.
…Of course, I’m not here to review the press release, but it does give some idea of the world in which you enter here…
This year marks forty years since the Monochrome Set formed. Led by Ganesh ‘Bid’ Seshadri, they rose out of the ashes of the B-Sides, which had included Stuart Goddard (the future Adam Ant).
This is, perhaps surprisingly, their fourteenth studio album. It’s a great insight into what makes them distinctive as a band. While I wouldn’t want people to cherry pick what they listen to on this album (c’mon people, it’s all of 33 minutes long! Find the time, as Five Star once sang), there are highlights on this record. ‘Stage Fright,’ the opening ‘Give Me Your Youth’ and the wonderfully titled (and ever so slightly sinister sounding) ‘Oh, Yes, I’m Going To Be In Your Dreams Tonight.’ Sounding so different to almost anything you will hear on mainstream radio as to be from a different planet (and all the better for it) these songs hold their own up against the songs of what is now decades ago like ‘The Monochrome Set’ and ‘Jet Set Junta.’ There are – unquestionably- people who can explain in more depth than I can about what is ver Set’s best work, but this is as good as any place to start with their work. The oft-repeated John Peel cliche about The Fall that they were always different, always the same applies to the Monochrome Set. It’s an equal successor to the band’s last record, 2016’s Cosmonaut.
It’s not just that it’s different from so much out there that makes this an entrancing listen. Sure, it’s not a groundbreaking record, but this is a great collection of songs and and attendant sounds. It’s somehow very reassuring that in this uncertain world that Bid and co. continue to produce their slightly quirky songs, a connection to a time when indie meant independent, as opposed to meat and two veg formulaic guitar work, as is so often the case. While members may have wondered why the former Stuart Goddard had much greater commercial success than they, four decades along, there’s still consistently great work coming from the Monochrome Set. There have been splits and hiatuses along the way, but whether the next album is two or ten years away, there’s a strong likelihood it will be worth the wait.
Maisieworld is out now on Tapete
Last year, I was very impressed by a track from a South London duo called Sista Strange. Still in their teens they are Chariz Calanday and Jesley Faye Fantolgo. Writing about ‘Friday Evening’ I commented ‘I hear electronica, soul, hip-hop and drum’n’bass, served up as a kick-ass tune.‘
It still is, take note. Somehow I missed out on the slightly darker-sounding ‘Lust’ – but I’m enjoying making up for lost time. You should, too.
In the last week, they have unveiled ‘Ride’ which shows that they have developed further. In what seems to be -charmingly – typical of the Sista Strange sound, it goes places you don’t expect. Not least because my first thought was ‘Wow! They’ve gone more soulful on this one.’ It is, however, like a much needed ray of sunshine in this freezing cold weather. Utterly fantastic.
I cannot claim to be any sort of expert about Ezra Furman. I do know that I really enjoy both of his last two albums Perpetual Motion People and Transangelic Exodus. The latter was released this last Friday just gone. I’m still getting my head around it – it’s absolutely brilliant, though. As in: I would be happy to spend my own money on it, and be thrilled.
So, instead I will point you in the direction of the very nice Loz Etheridge at my other writing gig, God Is In The TV, and you can read his excellent review there.
I don’t think it’s either controversial nor too early to say this album will be cropping up on end of year lists. This video for ‘Driving Down To L.A.’ is worth seeing on its own…
…and you should stream the whole album below:
Having championed them on this blog since 2007, every time there is a new Broken Records release I want to get up and cheer. Should a forty-something man behave this way? Ach, who cares. Broken Records will shortly release their fourth album What We Might Know, on March 30.
The first track from the album is entitled ‘They Won’t Ever Leave Us Alone’ – and whether or not you have seen the video or heard the track, you can view it just here:
The band will be playing the following tour dates:
March 31 – Lexington, London
April 21 – Church, Dundee
April 26 – Summerhall, Edinburgh
April 27 – Tolbooth, Stirling
April 28 – Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
The album cover looks like this…
…and the album tracklist is as follows:
- They Won’t Ever Leave Us Alone
- Let The Right One In
- Open Ground
- The Inbetween
- Perfect Hollow Love
- When All Of This Is Done
- So Free
- Someday You’ll Remember Me
- What We Might Know