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Music For Pleasure (1997)

New Order's Bassist doubles up

Act: MONACO Label: Polydor Project: album
Songwriters: Hook/Potts Publishers: Warner
Chappell Released: May 12 1997

There must be some genetic explanation for the tendency of members of New Order
to break away to form duos. It began with Bernard Sumner's collaboration with
Johnny Marr in 1989 as Electronic and continuedwhen Stephen Morris and Gillian
Gilbert mutated into The Other Two soon after. Now the bizarre love triangle is
complete with Monaco, featuring erstwhile bassist Peter Hook and fellow
Mancunian David Potts.

The pairing's first single What Do You Want From Me, released next week, is an
absolutely massive pop song. Already enjoying radio airplay across the board it is stamped with Hook's unique bass sound, an outrageously catchy chorus and, perhaps inevitably, a strong resemblance to New Order that fails to detract from its triumphant appeal. "It's amazingly strong and it's destined to be a big hit," says Polydor A&R director Paul Adam, who signed Monaco after hearing a demo sent by Charlatans manager Steve Harrison of Dead Dead Good. "I put it on and the first track I heard was the single and that was enough for me."

Hook has teamed up with partner Potts before, in the early Nineties when the latter joined the New Order man's 1990 spin-off project, Revenge. The two kept in touch and began working again a couple of years back. For Paul Adam the music had to stand up in its own right because making mileage of Hook's past was never going to be enough. "I'm a New Order fan and Hooky's playing is so distinctive, but it was the quality of the songs that grabbed me. I didn't want to sell a band on an old one, that would be going backwards," he says.

The duo wrote and recorded God's Own Stash in Hook's 16-track home studio before recreating the songs in 10 weeks over the summer in Lincoln and Chester. The final mixing was completed by Alan Meyerson who worked on Technique, the sort of record both parties agreed they were striving to match. "I only formed Revenge to play live really, the music came second. It worked much better live than on record. We went all round the world with it so it was fine. This comes from a different perspective," says Hook. "We've enjoyed the writing process. It came together quite naturally and we've deliberately taken our time because everything about Revenge was rushed.
This is a labour of love."

For 41-year-old Hook, who appeared to be languishing in limbo, Monaco is a new
challenge. "I'm not hungry but this feels very fresh and very different from
New Order. I certainly didn't expect people to be as interested in this record
but the response from everyone has been amazing."

Where Revenge was a deliberate attempt to forge a greasy rock'n'roll monster, Monaco plays to the duo's strengths. Hook's bass playing is instantly recognisable and gratifyingly prevalent, Potts' programming and guitar playing is neat and poppy, the shared vocals naggingly familiar, the songs strong on melody and rhythm. The results are impressive on tracks such as the disco monster Sweet Lips and the Charlatansy Comin Round Again. "David loves bass and he badgered me to put more on the songs. With Revenge I wanted to play that angle down because bass was what I did in New Order," says Hook. "Of course it's also what I do best so his instincts are to have plenty of it which is right. David pushes me in that respect. People think it's my band and I've shaped him but he's the serious one, I'm the flake."

If any question marks exist over Monaco they concern the unclear future of Hook's previous band. But while the bassist refuses to rule out another New Order album in the future he maintains, "New Order used to be the most important thing for me and the other stuff was a sideline. Unfortunately for New Order this is so enjoyable it takes precedence. The tables have turned for me and if they call I won't come running. I am much more interested in making this succeed, I'm very proud of it." Hook says. " I get up in the morning and feel good about myself. New Order hadn't given me that feeling for a long time."

by Mike Pattenden

Source: Mike Pattenden