published: 19 /
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
Chart success was never an issue for The Monochrome Set.
At least, that's what you might think when you listen to their earliest - in my view utterly brilliant - singles. Songs like 'Eine Symphonie des Grauens', the eponymous 'The Monochrome Set (I Presume)' and 'Alphaville' aren't really chart-topping material, even though there are some fabulous pop songs hidden behind all the weirdness.
But as time went by, the band became more and more pop-oriented, with singles such as 'Jet Set Junta' and 'Ten Don't For Honeymooners' being prime examples of their new direction. But they never lost touch with that aforementioned weirdness, which probably was for their own good.
After their initial stint with Rough Trade, the band then went on to Virgin subsidiary label DinDisc to record a couple of albums before heading to classic indie label Cherry Red, where A&R man Mike Alway took care of them. Soon after their arrival, Alway took off to form a new 'indie' subsidiary for the major label Warner Music. The label was named Blanco Y Negro, and Alway decided to bring The Monochrome Set too, along with other Cherry Red bands including Everything But The Girl.
The Monochrome Set's first and only album for Blanco Y Negro was "The Lost Weekend", and with a major label backing them they recorded their most polished and hit-oriented yet. Just listen to the first single, 'Jacob's Ladder', and you will understand what I mean (there's even a music video for it, and you can watch it on YouTube!).
This didn't matter, though. The band never got their smash hit single, and after the release on 'The Lost Weekend' they split up (even though they appeared as the backing band on The Would Be Goods' debut album "The Camera Loves Me" in 1988). Singer Bid released some solo records, of which the most memorable one probably is 'Reach For Your Gun', and it would be another five years until the next Monochrome Set album hit the record store shelves. Since then, the band have been more-or-less active, with some years in hiatus every now and then.
This re-release of The Monochrome Set's claim to the pop charts is most welcome, and this is a great album by a great band. This CD issue also has some bonus tracks picked from single b-sides, plus a remix of the second single off the album, 'Wallflower'.
Play in YouTube:-