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Sunday, 20 August, 2000, 22:55 GMT 23:55 UK
CD Review: Monaco

Monaco are back sounding more like New Order than ever
By the BBC's Nigel Packer

The world's most authentic tribute band is back.

All the ingredients which worked for Peter Hook and co in New Order are recreated in Monaco - Hook's two-man collaboration with singer-guitarist David Potts.

Barnstorming anthems built around crackling guitars, sweeping keyboards and Hook's mournful six-string bass are Monaco's not so new order of the day.


Hook (left) and Potts (right) living in the past

And if Hook does a pretty mean impression of himself, Potts is even more convincing in the role of New Order's Bernard Sumner.

The duo's 1997 debut proved to be manna from heaven for fans starved for too long of the real thing, and now they're offering up a second helping.

Few marks for originality, then, but if it's big tunes and a rush of nostalgia you're after - you've come to the right place.

I've Got A Feeling, Kashmere and Black Rain will transport you instantly back to the mid-80s, while giving Hook the chance to draw from his bottomless well of memorable bass runs.

Risk free

But if there are times when Potts seems doomed forever to wander in the shadow of St Bernard, he does get the chance to make his own mark on a handful of more distinctive tracks.

A Life Apart blends understated vocals into a curious concoction of chugging guitars and heavenly choirs, while Bert's Theme is a (slightly clumsy) romantic ballad.

Hooky himself takes over singing duties on the sleazy high energy disco track See-Saw, only to discover too late that he sounds uncannily like Right Said Fred's Richard Fairbrass.

He fares better when adding his voice to the upbeat singalong It's A Boy, and the duo save their best until last in the shape of ambient instrumental Marine.

The most contemporary sounding track on the album, it weaves harpsichord, acoustic guitars and Hooky's signature bass lines around a free-floating drum 'n' bass beat.

Great stuff - it's just a pity that the album as a whole fails to take the same kind of chances.

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