One True Passion


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One True Passion Review

by William Cooper

New Order has been one of the most successful British musical imports since "Blue Monday" stormed American dancefloors in 1983. After a series of successful albums such as Low-life (1985), Brotherhood (1986), and Technique (1989), the band took an extended hiatus in the early '90s, with each member pursuing solo projects. Vocalist Bernard Sumner teamed up with the Smiths' Johnny Marr to form Electronic, Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris recorded under the moniker the Other Two, and bassist Peter Hook released One True Passion in 1990 as a member of Revenge.

Each of the New Order side projects took a decidedly different route. Sumner's Electronic was essentially a variation of New Order's catchy blend of dance and rock, while Morris and Gilbert's the Other Two came across like a lighter version of Everything but the Girl. Revenge incorporated elements of industrial into what was basically New Order's signature sound. Unfortunately, the result was less than satisfying, not due to the harsher tone, but for the lack of melody. Bearing ridiculous titles like "Surf Nazi" and "Fag Hag," the material on One True Passion is ultimately suffocated by bombastic arrangements. While Hook's vocals are remarkably similar to Sumner's, Revenge shows no trace of the ingenious instrumentation and engaging melodies that helped make New Order (along with Depeche Mode and the Cure) one of the most endearing British imports of the 1980s. Even the two best cuts on the album, "Pineapple Face" and "Slave," sound forced and over-arranged. Hook's distinctive bass playing is also noticeably missing, replaced by an overabundance of synthesizers.

Like Electronic, Revenge will obviously be of interest to fans of New Order, so comparisons between the bands are inevitable. While Bernard Sumner scored with the eponymous Electronic release (also in 1990), it was due to that album's impressive warmth and melodic strength. One True Passion fails on almost every level; though there are some pleasing moments, the album leaves a bad aftertaste. New Order fans will no doubt be disappointed, and the casual listener won't even care.

One True Passion was an artistic and commercial failure, and following the release of the EP Gun World Porn in 1992, Hook disbanded Revenge for good. After reuniting with the members of New Order for 1993's Republic, Peter Hook teamed up with David Potts to release the highly regarded Music for Pleasure in 1997 under the name Monaco.

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