Mono

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

In 1998 I went to see a film adaptation of Great Expectations starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow (since this is a music site, I guess I should say Chris Martin of Coldplay’s wife). I’d consider the film to be slightly underrated – the reviews were mediocre but I thought the updated names and quickening of the pace compared to the book were changes I could live with. The previews for the film had featured music that was haunting and seemed to fit the film perfectly. The track of course was “Life in Mono” by the UK band Mono and it is a track that I’ve come back to often over the last 15 years. The song starts out in an entrancing manner, trip-hop beat married to a pop song structure. Vocals come courtesy of Siobhan de Maré and are simply perfect. Evocative, sexy – all wrapped up in an air of mystery. Martin Virgo’s musical backing recalls a 60’s spy film and for good reason – it features a sample from “The ICPRESS FILE” by John Barry (of James Bond fame). At the time the duo were compared to Portishead which I can see, but I’d say they live in a world all of their own. The track seems like it was a bigger hit than it actually was – it hit #70 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the US (#26 on the Modern Rock charts). Emma Bunton of Spice Girls fame later covered this track – and it is a tribute to the songwriters that her version is so enchanting as well. Key lyrics:

The tree-lined avenue
Begins to fade from view
Drowning past regrets
In tea and cigarettes
But I can’t seem to forget
When you came along

Ingenue,
Ingenue,
I just don’t know what to do

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