February 19, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Monochrome Set

The Monochrome Set early on could have been considered Adam's original Ants, since the band started out with Stuart Goddard (Adam his grandself)in tow, and were at that point in 1977 calling themselves by the less than formiddable name of The B-Sides. Goddard went on to ... well whatever it was he got on to, and the rest of the band went on to morph into one of the great post-punk bands of the day. The Monochrome Set.

This track, "The Jet Set Junta", was a 1982 single on Cherry Red Records. The song never made a big impact ("He's Frank", was a much bigger hit for the band), but was undoubtably one of the Set's best releases. From the first Ennio Morricone notes and melancholy whistling you know this song is going to have attitude, and it does. At least as far as Monochrone Set was willing to push it. The band always seemed to make understatement a sort of hallmark, and this song is no exception. It's a great song, the writing is clever, and the arrangement is both anthemic and still unique, but even so it never seemed to really catch on with the masses. But, there was a great, almost two dimensional video made that because of its lack of color and depth made it stand out against the backdrop of videos of the day that featured all too many gimmicks. The deadpan delivery of lead singer Bid and the fact that only solos got any sort of action attention made the video extremely minimalism, but in a way that so suited the song that you hardly notice nothing else is happening.

Monochrome Set -- Jet Set Junta