Terrific Tuesdays: the Monochrome Set
The Monochrome Set was another group I latched on to early in my development. About the same time that I was getting into early Weezer, the Violent Femmes, Adam & the Ants, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and other such acts, I stumbled upon Strange Boutique, the debut, and best, LP.
The Monochrome Set was the brainchild of Lester Square (the guitarist) and Bid (the super square vocalist). The band rose from the ashes of the B-Sides, a band which ironically included Adam Ant, in 1976, and went on to record seven albums, a plethora of singles, and quite a few compilations, all before the final "hiatus" began in 1998 (there was a dead period, too, between 1985 and 1990).
Man did I love Strange Boutique. All sharp, clean, and crisp guitars, straightforward bass lines, goofy little synth lines, sort of primitive/tribal drumming (re: Adam & the Ants), and an overall uber-poppy yet retro vibe. It's no wonder that so many groups have adored and been inspired by the Monochrome Set: they did everything right, never reached too far, and consistently made killer hooks that you just can't resist. Currently, Bid's working on his studio side-project, Scarlet's Well a rather baroque pop group that is quite clearly a descendant of the Monochrome Set (although Bid's vocals have gotten a little flimsier).