Essential New Music: The Monochrome Set’s “Cosmonaut”


Stateside fanfare for the Monochrome Set has never been especially rabid, but when the British post-punk O.G.s made a comeback in 2012—after 17 years of radio silence—it mostly fell on deaf ears on this side of the pond. Cosmonaut is the fourth album since that resurrection, and they’ve been on a low-key winning streak. Like the dozen Monochrome Set records that came before it, Cosmonaut is a mostly understated genre-jumper that serves as the platform for frontman Bid (a.k.a. Ganesh Seshadri) to exercise his dry wit.

He also has an absurdist bent. Sample lyric from “Monkey Suitcase”: “If I were poor, I’d steal flies from the spider’s web in my bathroom.” Bid goes on to describe how he’d prep them. Musically, Cosmonaut shuffles from surf guitars to Western twang to even soft rock. In between is plenty of their trademark jangly, left-field pop that helped spawn a thousand indie bands.

—Matt Sullivan