Monaco Music For Pleasure
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With the status of England's New Order on an indefinite hiatus, and band members taking up other side projects such as Electronic and The Other Two, it's no shock that Peter Hook has pursued his own fortunes and formed the group Monaco. What may pleasantly surprise fans is that the Monaco debut disc, Music For Pleasure, could comfortably slide next to any established New Order on the shelf - and compete favorably for play in the disc changer. On the leadoff single, "What Do You Want From Me", fans of New Order will instantly recognize the hook as that of bassist Peter - pun intended. Surprisingly, Hook's vocals aren't too far removed from those of N.O.'s lead vocalist, Bernard Sumner. The "sha la la" backing chorus comes off as an updated male counterpart of Motown, vintage 1960s, while the bassline is vintage New Order, played to absolute perfection. Monaco is Peter Hook and David Potts; Hook found Potts while recording the Gun World Porn EP for Revenge, on which Potts contributed some guitar work. The seeds of a successful relationship were born, and the pair started to work together after New Order's Republic album was complete. Despite New Order's success, however, Hook was unable to parlay that quality work into his side project. "My last thing (Ed. note: Revenge - two non-descript albums with one good single, "Pineapple Face") played down the New Order and bass elements because I felt I should get away from them. I was very self-conscious, and the album suffered for that. I feel much happier and more comfortable doing this than I was before." And 'this', as he dubs Monaco, isn't too far removed from his New Order past. "Shine" and "Happy Jack" could have emanated from any New Order album, while "Tender" has a riff which seemingly comes straight out of "Love Vigilantes" - but unlike John Fogerty, Hook won't get sued for taking a peek at his past. And "Under The Stars" could easily become a football (soccer, for the American fans) anthem for some F.A. team - possibly Manchester United? - just as New Order paired up with a nation of football players for "World In Motion". Hook has perfected the pop trails he blazed in New Order, but he has a few tricks up his sleeve to show this isn't a one trick pony. "Buzz Gum" is a holy alliance incorporating the influences of the Beatles, circa Magical Mystery Tour (or Oasis with a horn intermission, if sick of every band being comparead to the Fab Four), and Ian Broudie (Lightning Seeds) and the alterna-techno dance enticement of the off-titled "Junk", already coming in at a DJ-ready mix 9 minutes long, shows Monaco could easily take their music away from the chic clubs and bring it to the underground - if Hook and Potts desired. The second UK single, "Sweet Lips" delves deeper and mixes the 70's disco scene, down the street from Gloria Gaynor, with the 80's digs which Hook frequented. Fulfulling the promise that was left untapped after Electronic's self-titled debut, Monaco's Music For Pleasure delivers a knockout punch as Peter Hook proves that the compelling force in a band isn't always *only* the lead vocalist.