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Monochrome Set - Volume, Contrast, Brilliance….Vol. 2, Unreleased and Rare

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 25 / 3 / 2016

Monochrome Set - Volume, Contrast, Brilliance….Vol. 2, Unreleased and Rare
Label: Tapete Records
Format: CD


Variable second raities compilation from the Monochrome Set, which will most likely only appeal to their hardcore fans.

Thirty-three years ago, the classic Monochrome Set compilation 'Volume, Contrast, Brilliance... Volume 1' was released, collecting together hard-to-find early singles, radio sessions etc. Now it's finally time for the second instalment. This time around we are treated to an album full of demo recordings and rarities, spanning from the band's early years in the late 70s to the early 90s, at whch stage they had recently reformed for the first time (they split up in 1985). As usual when it comes to these kinds of compilations, the material presented has a shifting quality, to say the least. Most of the time it's actually quite easy to tell why the songs never were released or re-recorded in the studio. But with that said, there are some real gems on here as well, at least for a long time fan such as myself. The opening 'Something about You', which was recorded back in 1985, is a classic Bid pop tune featuring just the aforementioned band leader, bass player Andy Warren and a drum machine. According to the liner notes, the song was forgotten during the band's hiatus, which is a shame, really. 'I Wanna Be Your Man', recorded in 1978 around the time they signed to Rough Trade, has all the trademark sounds from early the Monochrome Set, something that can also be said about 'Fly Me to the Moon', which was recorded at the same time. I also enjoyed hearing the demo version of 'Reach for Your Gun', a song that was released as solo single by Bid in 1986. But as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of songs here that you can skip without feeling too bad about yourself... All in all, this is a compilation that's preaching to the already converted, and I find it hard to believe that the band will find new fans with this. But then again, that wasn't probably their intention either...

Track Listing:-
1 Something About You
2 I Wanna Be Your Man
3 Cilla Black
4 The Greatest Performance Artist in the World
5 Reach for Your Gun
6 Fly Me to the Moon
7 Love
8 Whoops! What a Palaver
9 I Want Your Skin
10 Stories From the Book of Love
11 White Lightning
12 Wisteria
13 Bella Morte
14 Swing
15 Black Are the Flowers
16 Jack

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Interview (2002)
Monochrome Set - Interview
Eclectic and enigmatic, the UK's Monochrome Set have been the focus of many legends and myths. Tommy Gunnarsson speaks to its ironic and teasing frontman Bid about the group's twenty year history

live reviews

(with the Hepburns and Karen), Thunderbolt, Bristol, 17/3/2018
Monochrome Set - (with the Hepburns and Karen), Thunderbolt, Bristol, 17/3/2018
Dixie Ernill watches the Monochrome Set and Karen bookend a fine evening of skewed indie on a wintry night in Bristol.

favourite album

The Lost Weekend (2015)
Monochrome Set - The Lost Weekend
In our 'Re:View' section, in which we look back at albums from the past, Tommy Gunnarsson listens to 'The Lost Weekend', the Monochrome Set's 1985 would-be chart-topper, and also their last album during their first period as a band, which has just been re-released on CD

digital downloads



Fabula Mendax (2019)
First-rate album from indie pop outfit the Monochrome Set, which was inspired by manuscripts from the 15th century
Cosmonaut (2016)
Spaces Everywhere (2015)

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