Spaces Everywhere

The Monochrome Set

Tapete, 2015

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Excuse me…are you one of us?

Who Bid is talking to remains unclear in the opening track “Iceman,” which is perhaps the point. With a fair amount of snark and a blend of various rock movements of the last 40 years, Spaces Everywhere dares you to dislike its cheeky charms. Of course, sarcasm and cheerfulness have been this band’s stock in trade since their 1980 debut, but the band continues to push forward with its sound and approach.

Yet while many of the songs lack gravity and staying power, they are quite fun, especially the two-step country flavor of “The Z Train” (which recalls Prefab Sprout’s “Faron Young,” and both that band and this band have much in common). This band was an influence on the Smiths, so one might be tempted to think a song like “Avenue” was derived from Morrisey’s band, when in fact it is the other way around (plus, Morrisey would never have allowed the cheesy prog-rock keyboards straight out of a Kansas song).my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Britpop, American country, postpunk, Velvet Underground and pop grab bag that comprises this disc is appealing, though, even if the songwriting doesn’t measure up. Bid’s vocals are unsurprisingly similar to Morrisey’s, with hints of Iggy Pop and lower-register David Bowie, with a slight sense of being above it all but not ironically so. It’s a perfect voice and approach for today’s indie rock scene; perhaps Monochrome Set was ahead of their time and now the world will catch up.

“In A Little Village” is a slightly dark and quite nice acoustic tune, while the closing title song is flat-out hippie prog-pop that may or may not be a joke. The lyrics are goofy, but the clarion acoustic strums, flute breaks and general earnestness makes it seem real. It’s a fascinating little tune, to be sure, not quite in step with the rest of the record, which makes it even better. However, “Iceman” remains the highlight, an odd, energetic song that would be a fine single, although I have no idea in what format or station. More likely, “Fantasy Creatures” will be picked up by today’s skinny-jean hipsters, and that’s not a bad choice either.

Spaces Everywhere won’t change your life by any means, but it’s something a little different, a little more energetic and a little less serious than your average indie-pop-rock disc, from a band that has been doing their own thing for over three decades now.

Rating: C+

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