Peter Hook is the most important instrumentalist of the most important British band of the 80s, New Order. Silky and tough, and put stunningly high in the mix, his humming bass defines the band and its genre (synth pop) so sweepingly that it's almost unfair: Depeche Mode, for example, always sound a little naked without it. (The Cure just copy it wholesale.) In New Order, of course, its soaring beauty competes effectively with the extravagant synthesizers and programming, and reinforces the band's commitment to sonic democracy. But besides a charming single to egg on the country's World Cup team, "England," New Order has been on hold of late as guitarist and programmer Bernard Sumner dallies with Neil Tennant and Johnny Marr in the group Electronic. Hook's new aggregation is called Revenge; they're touring on an album called One True Passion. The record sounds a lot like New Order, but it's a lot more linear than New Order's best work, and at times Hook sounds, disconcertingly, like a normal old rock band, like Simple Minds or something. Elsewhere, however, as on "Pineapple Face," "Big Bang," or particularly "It's Quiet," he makes a run at that old sublimity; and if, like me, you're a fan, it's fun and compelling just to watch him try. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Peter Walsh.