At the end of the '70s, The Monochrome Set were part of the first wave of "post-punk" bands. Right from the beginning, the band earned a solid reputation as purveyors of fine pop, gaining praise from '80s contemporaries such as Morrissey and Edwyn Collins. In later years, this praise has continued with artists such as Franz Ferdinand, The Divine Comedy and Graham Coxon, all citing the band as a key influence on their own work. The Monochrome Set sound has often been described as "timeless", and that alone explains why, over the years, the band has continued gaining admirers. The Monochrome Set is black & white, at the same time, with no grey. That's what the name always meant - delivering mirth and melancholy, pleasure and panic, delight and dread, wrapped up in tuneful pop songs with curious lyrics. The band seem to occupy a parallel universe, with a rich panoply of sounds and words, all somehow evocative of something just beyond reach or remembrance - yet the songs have an immediate simplicity and power. Cosmonaut, the band's 13th album, is a perfect example of this exhilarating mix. The title track opens with a Theremin cyber fly buzzing towards your skull before the song hits, launching you into a mirror dimension that is both familiar and alien. The whole album is a trip that starts with a hallucinating cash-till lady, then travels through dream-sets involving cannibalism, disaffected squirrels, strange gods, dying sweethearts, sexual depravity, Alzheimer's, backward evolution, and ends in an operating theatre, amid a sea of medical tentacles. In short, a camping holiday. The trademark Monochrome Set guitar is ever-present, but this time complemented by delightfully busy keyboards, which give an added richness and spice to the album. In just 30 minutes, Cosmonaut catapults the listener into orbit and takes them on a zany, hallucinogenic joyride - not in outer space as it turns out, but in and around the arcane and fantastical recesses of Bid's imagination. Cosmonaut comes with minimal risk of explosion, persistent floatiness and no disappointing space food.