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İFAC441 1998-2005 v5.3


The side project that Peter Hook formed in 1990 during a break from New Order, to indulge in his crippling addiction to touring. David Potts was working as a humble tape operator in Hook's Suite Sixteen recording studio during the Revenge album sessions, and was drafted into the live band. After New Order had reconvened for the 'Republic' album and tour, Hooky returned ready to pick up where he'd left off, only to find all but Potts had deserted him, which, as history would soon prove, was no bad thing.

"The weird thing with Revenge," Hooky admits, "was that I just wanted to carry on gigging. I didn't do it for myself or my heart. I did it for my head. I actually made a conscious effort to make my playing style different to how it was in New Order. In retrospect it was a mistake, because I was deserting the very thing that I do best." With Pottsy's help, Hooky rediscovered the plot and returned to what he does best - fusing guitar songs and shuffling dance beats, with his trademark lead bass-lines way up in the mix.

And after 4 years of writing and recording, Monaco emerged in 1997 with a stupidly catchy slice of post-modern pop genius, 'What Do You Want From Me', which netted the band their first playlist-hogging chart hit. The subsequent debut album 'Music For Pleasure' shared the rare pleasure of universal critical acclaim and a Top 10 placing, and spawned two further hits 'Sweet Lips' and 'Shine', thus cementing Monaco's reputation for writing infectious tunes that could fell a rhino at 100 paces.

"The success of the record didn't come as a shock, it was a welcome surprise," says Pottsy. "The pair of us thought the record would come out, do all right, then enable us to start doing gigs and build up from there." How wrong they were - 'Music For Pleasure' went gold in the UK and sold hundreds of thousands in the USA with an accompanying sold out tour. However, in the kind of move baffling to all except major labels, Polydor decided not to option Monaco's second album and with New Order back in the studio and Pottsy getting a call from the post-Guigsy Oasis, it looked for a while as if that would be that for Monaco and their effortlessly classy anthems.

But good music and receptive ears can't be kept apart for long, and so Monaco are back with a new label, another stupidly catchy slice of post-modern pop genius, 'I've Got A Feeling', which is already hogging the playlists, and an eponymously titled second album, chock-full of songs whose sheer contagiousness put to shame 99% of the turgid nonsense currently clogging the upper echelons of the hit parade. The new album consolidates everything in Monaco's world, whilst broadening it's horizons, and in Pottsy's own words, "sounds more like a Monaco album than the last one. We spent half our time chasing our tails and trying to write another 'What Do You Want From Me' - well you would wouldn't you? And then the other half trying to avoid writing one.

In the end we decided to step back, relax a bit and just write what comes naturally - and 'Monaco' is the result". And what a result it is - an away win if ever there was. A heady combination of dance-rock sensibilities with an overwhelming enthusiasm for the three-minute pop song. From the sweeping twists and turns of 'A Life Apart' to the lush landscapes of 'Bert's Theme'. There's even some glitzy disco in 'See-Saw' and drum n bass elements to 'Marine'. Hooky gets to sing on 'See-Saw' and 'It's A Boy', putting his bass to one side temporarily, but his trademark runs are never far away - most notably leading the way in 'Black Rain"' and punching out the classic refrain of 'End Of The World'.

And that's Monaco in summer 2000.

PS - A note to leave you with ...

When no-one is in the house, Hooky sticks on his new record because he likes it so much and he thinks: "What a laugh. I've been doing this for nearly 25 years. I still can't tune a guitar to save my life and look at me! Car, motorbike, wife, kids, new record. I still think someone's going to come round and say, hey you, you're having too much of a good time. It's got to stop."