The Monochrome Set

Spaces Everywhere

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Fans seem baffled that the quirky U.K. crew known as the Monochrome Set aren't bigger than they are, but every culture gets the chart-toppers it deserves, and this world has yet to prove it deserves such wit, style, and spindly riffs. If it did, a snide-and-smart rebellion like Spaces Everywhere wouldn't be necessary, since the opening smarty "Iceman" comes on as paranoid and alone as every maverick who must walk amongst the provincial ("The Iceman, the eggman, and something wicked cometh"). Schooling the vacant is the kind of California dreaming that takes place during "When I Get to Hollywood" ("You told him he was beautiful, his eyes were like two nuts upon a plate"), but as deliciously snarky as the songwriting can be, main man Bid can also touch the heart now and then, as the rebel youth subject of "Oh, You're Such a Star" can't stand mom and grandmom's bitching, and probably because it hits too close to home ("She did not want to feel the aching, of their growing-up pains"). The bulk of the album sounds like Television married Sparks and had a baby during London's swinging '60s, and while Franz Ferdinand fans will find plenty to embrace with this veteran crew, the ridiculous prog rock of the title track predates the group's 1978 birthdate, plus as album closers go, it's a flute-filled, existential whopper ("Just where that chair is there used to be the shape of things to come"). There really are spaces everywhere, and most would be better served if they were filled with Monochrome Set albums.

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