Photographers: Mike Slocombe; Nick Wesolowski; Nick White; Lester Square; Marian Palmer; Steve Mace ; Dave Harper .
Odds-and-sods collections from cult acts are almost always a necessary pick-up for fans, and while the Monochrome Set already have a couple in their discography -- some released back in their days on El Records -- few have been as necessary as this one. Coming years and years after 1983's Volume, Contrast, Brilliance: Vol. 1 -- which featured "Singles and Session" -- Vol. 2 dives deep into the archives and offers everything from a session recorded before their debut single, "He's Frank," to alternate recordings of songs that would end up on 1991's album Jack. There are plenty of years left over for a Vol. 3, but raw versions of classics like "Whoops! What a Palaver" and "Reach for Your Gun" should tide fans over until it appears. Sound quality varies, but the Jack tracks are stunningly, fully formed and burst out of the speakers like a snarky psychedelic kaleidoscope. Great liner notes in the physical release seals the deal with the best tidbit being that the unreleased highlight "The Greatest Performance Artist in the World" suffered because "... the band were unhappy with the lack of a real orchestra, so the song was dropped." The Monochrome Set's fanciful world is filled with big dreams and small victories, as this delightfully scattered set displays. ~ David Jeffries
Pitchfork (Website) - "[T]his collection of delightful demos, a sequel to a first batch in the '80s, highlights their dry whimsy and melodic ingenuity."