What do you do if you are one of the biggest bands in the world and you're bored? You take some time off and record side projects. Such was the case with New Order. New Order had been a huge alternative rock band throughout the 80's and 90's and in 1996 they decided to take a break. What transpired was a quartet of side projects, with varying success.
Electronic was formed between NO singer Bernard Sumner and the Smiths guitar god Johnny Marr. Their first album, ELECTRONIC, was a nice mix of Sumner's vocals and Marr's Guitar. Mix in some techno touches and even some rapping (Sumner rapping is suprisingly high quality) and you get a really good record. "Getting Away With It" is a great pop song, featuring a vocal aid by Pet Shop Boys Neil Tennent. Other highlights include a rousing techno track "Tighten Up" and the aforementioned rap track "Feel Every Beat". The band has since recorded two more records and will soon release a greatest hits.
(m4a) Electronic -- Tighten Up
Partially due to the success of Electronic and partially due to his own desire to stake out his turf, Bassist Peter Hook formed his own band Revenge. A radical departure from New Order, Revenge was blasted in the press and fans ignored the record. Compared to New Order, the critics might have been right, but as it's own, ONE TRUE PASSION, isn't that bad. Hook is not a great singer but the songs have bite and some real imagination. Hook killed revenge after a follow up EP and formed Monaco. Monaco could almost be a New Order cover band. Hook pulls out all the old basslines and even finds a signer that could be Bernard Sumner's stunt double. "What Do You Want From Me" is the track that New Order might have recorded if they were together at this time.
(m4a) Revenge -- Pineapple Face (From One Ture Passion)
(m4a) Revenge -- Cloud Nine ( From Gun World Porn)
Perhaps out of fear of beign ignored as the other half of Manchester's favorite sons and daughters or more likely putting some ideas from home down on tape, husband and wife duo Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris formed The Other Two. Their album, THE OTHER TWO AND YOU, is pure pop fun. Their isn't a song on it that isn't upbeat and sunny. It's almos the anti-New Order record. Gilbert's vocals on "Tasy Fish" and "Selfish" make me wonder if she shouldn't have been singing more than just back up. (of course, Gilbert is no longer with New Order) Overall, This is a close second to Electronic for quality Side projects.
(m4a) The Other Two -- Selfish
So even though none of these bands can replace the original, they are still enjoyable and make for a decent IPOD playlist all on their own.