11.The Strange Boutique
Mini - Bio:
When the British art-school punk band the B-Sides changed
their name and direction to become Adam & the Ants,
guitarist/vocalist Bid and guitarist Lester Square opted out to form
their own group, the Monochrome Set. Founded in London in 1978,
the band (also comprised of ex-Gloria Mundi and Mean Street
bassist Jeremy Harrington and former Art Attacks drummer J.D.
Crowe) was quickly snapped up by the Rough Trade label, and during
1979 issued three singles -- "He's Frank," "Eine Symphonie des
Grauens," and their signature number, "Monochrome Set" -- all
completely different in content and stylistic approach.
B-Sides bassist Andy Warren grew tired of life in Adam & the Ants, he rejoined
bandmates Bid and Square, replacing Harrington. In 1980 the Monochrome Set
released their debut album, the cabaret-flavored Strange Boutique, followed later that
year by the singles "405 Lines" and "Apocalypso" as well as another, more accessible
full-length effort, Love Zombies. Complete with new guitarist Foz, keyboardist Caroline
Booth and drummer Nick Wesolowski, they returned in 1982 with a cleaner, more melodic
sound on the LP Eligible Bachelors; "The Jet Set Junta," a satiric jab at the Falklands
Islands conflict, became a significant hit the next year.
Following the depatrure of Square,
the Monochrome Set veered even closer to light pop fare on singles like 1985's "Jacob's
Ladder; " the sound subsquently crystallized on the nostalgically-themed LP The Lost
Weekend. When the record met with dismal commercial response, the group disbanded,
only to reform in 1989 around the nucleus of Bid, Square and Warren along with new
keyboaridst Orson Presence. The 1990 album Dante's Casino did little to raise the
Monochrome Set's chart visibility, but the band soldiered on, releasing Charade in 1993,
Misere in 1994 and Trinity Road in 1995.
- by Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide
© 1999 AEC One Stop Group, Inc.