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New Order

  • Movement,
  • Power, Corruption & Lies,
  • Lowlife,
  • Brotherhood,
  • Substance,
  • Technique,
  • Republic,
  • Get Ready,
  • Waiting For The Sirens Call,
  • Music Complete,

  • Album Reviews |

    New Order

    Movement 7 ( 1981 )
    Dreams Never End / Truth / Senses / Chosen Time / ICB / The Him / Doubts Even Here / Denial

    A big step releasing an entire album, following the breakup of Joy Division through the death of Ian Curtis. It made some logical sense to release the 'Ceremony / In A Lonely Place' single which had been the last two songs written with Ian. That release made for a sense of closure. A second single 'Procession/Everythings Gone Green' had also been released and showcased a very different sound, an experiemental dance influenced sound with very little accent on either the lyrics or vocals. A shift towards musical experimentation rather than progression. With Gillian Gilbert on board, New Order became a four-piece. She would handle the keyboard duties allowing Bernard Sumner to handle vocal duties, guitar and additional keyboards. Stephen Morris ( group drummer ) actually had the best singing voice - but it was decided not to use a singing drummer, ultimately. With Martin Hannett ( legendary joy division producer ) back on board, the sessions for 'Movement' were far from smooth. It's kind of felt he took Ian Curtis death very badly indeed, and upon hearing the new line-up said that it was missing something. It certainly points to Ian contributing far more than just the vocals and words. Ian used to record vocal melodies for use within the song-writing process once teaming up with Bernard, Peter and Stephen. He also used to shape the direction of a song, to an extent, whilst recording. If only in terms of letting the other guys know if he liked a certain section or not.

    The sound of this New Order debut carries on from the progression/evolution shown by the final Joy Division album, 'Closer'. Keyboards are more prominently featured within the overall sound expanding upon the tentative keyboard led instrumental tracks from 'Closer'. The guitars are altogether politer than Joy Division's had been however and the overall feel of the music lighter in tone. Well, certainly on opener 'Dreams Never End' which although containing a fine melody seems like a 'Ceremony' re-write and ultimately not quite fully developed. It is an enjoyable song, though hardly possessing the same quality as 'Ceremony' or Joy Division's finest moments. Second song 'Truth' displays another reason Ian Curtis was badly missed during this attempt at seemingly recording a third Joy Divison album. Sample lyric "i saw children dance, i saw my life in a trance'. Bernard had obviously not yet found his own lyric writing voice! This is very much a lyric within the old Joy Division format, though hardly as eloquent as an Ian Curtis lyric. I've mentioned him a couple of times, haven't I? It's inevitable really, with New Order sticking so closely to the Joy Division sound. Martin Hannet, the producer, was hardly happy during the whole recording process, very messed up by Ian Curtis death. The production sounds slightly 'muddy' in places. I don't think his heart was in it at all.

    'Senses' is an enjoyable track, largely instrumental and showcasing riffing guitars and echo filled rolling drums leaning towards dance / techno purely through production effects and Stephen Morris drum work. Nice addictive Peter Hook bass parts here, as well. 'Chosen Time' is clearly the work of the same musicians that were responsible for Joy Division's 'Closer'. A fine musical track, if not vocal performance. It was a tough job for Bernard filling the vocal duties here. He would gain in confidence through subsequent albums, that goes without saying! If he hadn't, I might not be here reviewing this album in the first place! New Order's career may not exist were if not for them finding their own character and voice seperate from Joy Division. 'ICB' has nice guitars parts and more clattering, precision drum work. 'The Him' seems to go on forever but ends well with a flurry of guitars and drums amid the effective keyboards. 'Doubts Even Here' seems to recall Joy Division's 'The Eternal'. Very doomy - not as doomy or as beautiful as 'The Eternal' however and a rather pointless 'reprise' of such songs. It does have an effective Peter Hook vocal and a spooky voiceover from Gillian however. And, that's the thing. If divorced from memories of Joy Division - this stands as a fine, if not astonishing, album release. Closing song 'Denial' is harder hitting, the guitars sounding more furious and the robotic drumming pointing the way towards New Orders future.

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    Power Corruption & Lies 8 ( 1983 )
    Age Of Consent / We All Stand / The Village / 586 / Your Silent Face / Ultraviolence / Ecstasy / Leave Me Alone

    A couple of things are happening here. Barney is no longer writing Ian Curtis type lyrics. One song is called 'Ecstasy' for chirsts sake! Secondly, someone had given Barney a new direction - techno. He went for it straight away and started to experiment with New Order to incorporate elements of that sound into the group. The result ultimately was the huge best seller, 'Blue Monday'. Kraftwerk for one, were so blown away by 'Blue Monday' they even went as far as to rent the same studios New Order had used. They couldn't re-create the sound however, much to their own surprise. They couldn't create that sound at all and considered the Manchester studios New Order had used to be in a generally shocking state! All this is by the by. 'Blue Monday' wasn't on this, the second New Order album - in keeping with the 'indie' asthetic of the day. A few pieces here are obviously from the same place as 'Blue Monday' and a few of the other songs more straight forward in execution. The opening 'Age Of Consent' keeps in the place the Joy Division drums and bass guitar. The scratchy characteristic guitar playing of Bernard has been completely replaced by the keyboards. Whatever, it's a fantastic, gorgeous and perfect pop song that's a match for almost anything they'd done before as either Joy Division or New Order. 'We All Stand' sounds fairly desolate, minamilistic and the keyboards provide almost the entire song bar the odd piece of percussion. Oh, and Peter Hook on bass, of course. He didn't change too much :)

    Barney's vocals sound much more assured throughout this album, and as I said, the lyrics more coming from his own voice. The sound of New Order - that famous sound that would go on to see them becoming a best selling act around the world, falls into place on this album. 'The Village' is a perfect example of this. No traces of Joy Division at all in this song. '586' comes across as an early 'Blue Monday' experiment. It's hardly in the same league and makes you wish they'd just put 'Blue Monday' on the album instead. The keyboards continue, great big melodic swathes of them for 'Your Silent Face', which again, bears no trace of Joy Divison but is a great song all the same. 'Ultraviolence' isn't much of a song at all and comes across as another early experiment on the road towards 'Blue Monday'. 'Ecstasy' is similar actually, although slightly more developed in terms of writing. The eighth and final song raises the standards again - Peter Hook, proper sounding drums and actual guitar! It's also probably Barney's best vocal and lyrical performance to date and a song that manages to be affecting emotionally. As a whole work this album fails to exactly be cohesive, but can still be considered the start of New Order proper.

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    Low-life 8 ( 1985 )
    Love Vigilantes / The Perfect Kiss / This Time Of Night / Sunrise / Elgia / Sooner Than You Think / Sub-Culture / Face-Up

    The first New Order album to feature the group members on the record sleeve. Four different front covers though, one for each group member. The first New Order album really, where the lyrics are completely unimportant and also the first New Order album to bear not a single trace of their previous incarnation. This is musical sunshine. It's about the tunes :) Take 'Love Vigilantes'! Please, take it, it's a wonderful song, so very happy. Gorgeous Peter Hook bass line, evocative lyrics that sound fine even if the meaning is unimportant ultimately. A nice hook, 'I want to see my family, my wife and child, waiting for me.....'. The guitars, the keyboards. That bass-line! Peter Hook is god! 'The Perfect Kiss' follows and is appropriately titled, really. Fabulous keyboard lines, electronic drums. Eighties production but somehow it transcends that era simply by dint of being so great. An amazingly strong chorus that doesn't seem exactly memorable minutes later but whilst you are listening to it - is all that matters in the entire world. 'This Time Of Night' opens electronically again - Kraftwerk, Peter Hook, Gillian on the keyboards, Barney on the keyboards - inventive drum patterns. Following two classic singles it has a tough job but ultimately it suceeds admirably. And, remember those New Order instrumental tracks underneath the singing and lyrics? They play them on Sports stations a lot simply because they sound so damn fantastic. 'Sunrise' is one of those. The vocals and words are irrelevant. It just sounds so great, the guitar, the bass. Perfect within itself.

    The second side is just damn odd though. 'Elegia' is a very strange lengthy and slightly dull instrumental. 'Sub-Culture' has everything bar the kitchen sing in it's production. Beats and techno all over the place. It's the one song here that very definately screams mid-eighties. 'Sooner Than You Think' is a fine, if not special album track that features a few nice instrumental moments but not a huge amount else. The closing 'Face-Up' is more clattering techno ala 'Sub-Culture' initially before an enormous pop hook arrives and Barney sings 'Oh I cannot bear the thought of you'. Peter Hook returns in fine fashion as well. A great closing track that rescues a somewhat disapointing second half to the record. Still, enough fabulous songs are present and correct on the first side. It's still a fine album.

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    Brotherhood 5 ( 1986 )
    Paradise / Weirdo / As It Is When It Was / Broken Promise / Way Of Life / Bizarre Love Triangle / All Day Long / Angel Dust / Every Little Counts / State Of The Nation

    This record arrived hot on the heels of the acclaimed 'Low-Life' and perhaps it really shouldn't have done. Many of the songs sound half formed, almost like a set of overproduced demos. The vocals are particularly wayward on opener 'Paradise' for example. Every part seems to be pulling against each other. The verses and chorus parts don't fit together, the drums and bass don't hold together, the keyboards sound strangely lack-lustre and formula. 'Weirdo' at least has some kind of pace about it. The actual song seems slight and forgettable though Peter Hooks bass line just about holds things together. The lyrics sound like they were written on the back of napkin during five minutes break between drinks. 'As It Is When It Was' opens with some nice sounding guitar. Whilst this song also seems half finished, the half finished nature actually suits this. A ponderous rhythm, again things ill fitting together but charm flows through this. Peter Hook goes supernova for 'Broken Promise' although Barney sounds like he's singing a different song altogether. 'Way Of Life' is at least a better 'sounding' song production wise, a little more care with the combination of instruments and sounds.

    Side two opens with 'Bizarre Love Triangle' which despite sounding ridiculously dated now remains a winning and charming set of melodies and possibly the best set of vocals on the entire record. 'All Day Long' opens promisingly enough and you yearn for a classic New Order sound but it never quite fully arrives. 'Angel Dust' isn't very good at all. The drum pattern is extremely clumsy sounding in its attempt almost to be a throwback to 'Blue Monday'. The rest of the song is also a complete mess and the eighties production is so heavy it hurts. 'Every Second Counts' is so quiet and unsubstantial it barely exists. Barney turns in an improved vocal performance though which is fairly sweet sounding. 'State Of The Nation' sounds more like a classic New Order type of song but is rather over long and ultimately lacking in a strong enough hook to stick in your brain in any sort of enjoyable way. Even with the impressive 'Bizarre Love Triangle' and a couple of other fairly interesting moments, 'Brotherhood' just isn't anything special as an album listening experience. Hell, its not even an interesting set of individual sounds or choice moments. They had, could, and would - do better than this.

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    Readers Comments

    Darren Babidge
    Maybe because this was the first New Order Lp I bought but it is worth at least 7.There is nothing half-hearted about the plea against child abusers in All Day Long and the electronic base that opens the whole thing. - State of the Nation was an afterthought for the CD version so shouldn't really be included in a review of the original album. I think this LP stands up well overall and shouldn't be written off. If you want a naff New Order record try Republic - the soul was sapped from that one, apart from Young Offender, that is quality.

    Steve Roberts steve.roberts13@virgin.net
    You don't know everything mate!! This album is pure quality - production, melodies, humour, rock, dance - beautiful music - and the sleeve!!!!!

    james trottier kidaphex@hotmail.com
    I agree and disagree. Probably one of their least interesting albums, and certainly worst balanced, some songs do shine. "Paradise" is New Order at it's bare essence, and "Every little counts" shows their often overlooked sense of humour ...

    Martin Gray bustercolumbus@ukonline.co.uk
    One of the most underrated of New Order albums, chiefly due to the fact that it followed "Low Life" so swiftly, it nevertheless demonstrates perfectly the two very distinct sides of New Order's sound - being neatly split into a "guitar" side and a "sequencer" side. Even if the latter sounds dated and the production seems rather dense and claustrophobic throughout....although this is probably because most of the tracks seem to climax in a huge rush of piled-on sound. Furthermore, Technique honed the same guitar/sequencer ratio of tracks to greater effectiveness with infinitely better production and much stronger tunes, but I still like this album even now. I don't count "State" as part of the LP cos that's just a CD bonus and definitely the worst lyric NO had written to that point in time.

    Joel joel44is@comcast.net
    This may not be the typical "New Order" lp for those people who dont really "get" New Order. But for those of you who do you know its just a piece of the puzzle that took them from Movement to Get Ready. I agree with the other post that if someone wanted to rip on NO, rip on Republic. Or the new single that was played on Radio One a week or so ago. I truly hope the rest of the "new" cd sounds a whole lot better than the single I heard.

    dave mills dvdmrkmlls@lycos.co.uk
    This is a fantastic album, I see your point re the demo' style of some of the songs, most of side 1, but the pace of the tunes just bounds along and when Bizarre Love Triangle - the difinitive album/original version comes along the sense of euphoria is overwhelming. I nver tire of hearing this album. Your review is astonishingly critical indeed. It may not have been a success commercially but so what. The other guy is rright about Republic, Stephen Hagues production is so light it is tacky, some songs like World are Technique rejects, though Everyone Everywhere & Young Offender are excellent and then Regret is - and the band say so themselves - one of their best ever songs, classic New Order.

    Substance 7 ( 1987 )
    Ceremony / Everythings Gone Green / Temptation / Blue Monday / Confusion / Theives Like Us / Perfect Kiss / Subculture / Shellshock / State Of The Nation / Bizarre Love Triangle / True Faith / In A Lonely Place / Procession / Mesh / Hurt / The Beach / Confused Instrumental / Lonesome Tonight / Murder / Theives Like Us Instrumental / Kiss Of Death / Shame Of The Nation / 1963

    New Order released a fair few non album singles. In 1987 as well as releasing a similar Joy Division compilation, they also compiled New Order single A sides and B sides for release under the title 'Substance'. The 'A' sides are collected on the first CD and trace the groups development from 'Ceremony' through to 'True Faith'. 'Ceremony' was the final song Joy Division wrote with Ian Curtis. It was released as the first New Order single and shows that Joy Division had more up their sleeves than even the two superlative albums proper they did put out. It's a fabulous song, let down slightly by Bernards weak vocals but the music is hypnotic all the same. 'Everythings Gone Green' was an early dance experiment. It lacks much of a structure but does point the way towards 'Blue Monday'. 'Temptation' was originally released in 1982 and is possibly the first example of the dance/pop New Order mixture that would come through subsequent records. We have 'Blue Monday' of course, the biggest selling 12" single in UK history. Famously, it failed to make a profit due to the expensive sleeve design. Factory Records ( New Order's record label ) made a loss on every single copy sold. Typical of Factory Records, really. They released some fine music, but never did have the best business sense or judgement. After these early high-points, we enter a difficult period. New Order were obviously targetting American, hence the arrival of American Arthur Baker as producer. The results are very eighties and haven't dated as well as the earlier material. We don't get another truly fine single from New Order until 'Bizarre Love Triangle'. 'True Faith' is even better. Along with it's flip side, '1963' it was the only new New Order material to emerge in 1987. If they'd only continued with the inspiration shown in these fine two pop songs we may have had a classic album on our hands!

    Moving onto the second CD of b-sides we have an even trickier ride on our hands in terms of consistency. Yeah, New Order were capable of writing great B-Sides. The mid-eighties only produced a load of instrumental re-mixes however, several of which are included here and which I never have any desire to listen whatsover. 'The Beach' is a slightly altered 'Blue Monday'. 'In A Lonely Place' was the flip of the marvellous 'Ceremony'. 'Ceremony' survived despite Barneys weak vocal performance due to the music track. 'In A Lonely Place' is all atmosphere as far as the music track is concerned and badly misses the presence of Ian Curtis. 'Procession' is an early New Order proper b-side release. It's not quite accomplished but it is charming and the music reveals a way with melody continued rather than lost following the death of Ian. 'Mesh' is very much in the style of the debut New Order long-player and not quite essential being weaker than much of the material contained on that album. 'Hurt' experiments with sounds on the way to 'Blue Monday' 'Murder' is a messy, well, a messy mess! Sorry for not being more specific! Whilst New Order contemporaries such as The Smiths were putting out classic B-Sides, New Order were releasing obvious instrumental filler such as this. Only following a glut of instrumental re-mixes do we reach a truly great song and b-side with '1963'. One of the finest pop songs and melodies they ever wrote in fact. An affecting and fine Bernard Sumner vocal. 'Pet Shop Boys' man Stephen Hague had taken over the production duties by this stage and did push the group towards a poppier direction. It worked though. A shame they never really continued on from that. The groups next album release, 'Technique' would be inspired by a different atmosphere and feeling altogether.

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    Readers Comments

    Tom Jamate tomja@oit_DOT_umass.edu
    While I'm impressed and for the most part agree with your take here on Joy Division and New Order, I must take exception to your trashing of three of New Order's strongest songs ever: Mesh, Everything's Gone Green, and Temptation. These songs were released as singles in the early eighties, soon after Joy Division and Ian's death. To me they are a perfect integration of the still-evident driving energy of punk, layered with REAL rhythm guitar work and just the right amount of techno keyboards. A cosmic fusion that worked amazingly well, and can still be listened to today. Martin Hannett seemed to understand the role of the keyboard and knew not to overdue it. But like many promising post-punk bands of the late seventies and early eighties, New Order soon got lost in techno land. Peter Hook's pounding bass all but disappeared along with most of Bernard Sumner's guitar work. After the 1981-82 period New Order certainly created some good music wi! th Gillian Gilbert keyboards lending a hand. Low-life has some real gems. But once I heard a track from Republic as background music in a doctor's office, I knew it was over. When did New Order become e-z listening fodder ? I tried to follow, but was completely techno-ed out. Get Ready did show a spark of life though. We could argue forever, music is highly subjective, but at least give great songs like Mesh and Green another listen before dumping them in the trash. Thanks for the site, I've enjoyed the reading the reviews.

    david nylocks suz_nyl@hotmail.com
    Iīd just like to say that if youīre looking for those great non-album singles New Order made (Ceremony, True Faith, Blue Monday etc) I suggest a quite new new 2-disc single-comp titled, well, Singles. You get the goods and donīt have to listen through those throwaway instrumentals. By the way, great page, I enjoy it plenty. I would suggest you to review: The Jam, Orange Juice, The Specials, Paul Weller, PIL, New York Dolls, The Band (the guest reviews arenīt as trustworthy)Stevie Wonder, Bright Eyes and Rufus Wainwright. Cheers, or something.

    David Owens davidowens78@yahoo.com
    I am surprised that you gave this great compilation album only 7, as I think it is, along with Technique, their greatest record. To be fair, though, the second disc does sandbag the overall rating in my ears - only 1963 and Lonesome Tonight sound like potential A sides (1963 did go on to become an A side in the mid 1990s). Fair enough about the dated sound of many of the singles on disc one, but I would nevertheless not regard that necessarily as a weakness - dated music from that period can sound great! I am a big fan of Thieves Like Us - it is a real grower, and Shellshock and State of the Nation are excellent standard issue dance pop. The Perfect Kiss is a real treat. I would give this album 8 out of 10. Were it not for most of the songs on the B-sides disc, I would give it a good 9!

    dave mills dvdmrkmlls@lycos.co.uk
    No decent New Order single between Blue Monday and BLT? Are you actually a New Order hater, only begrudgingly accepting they have had their moments!? I mean come on! Confusion is a fine reworking here of the original bare techno version then Thieves Like Us (with it's B-Side Lonesome Tonight) is/are two real classic New Order songs heavens above as is the instrumental. Then the Perfect Kiss - in your review of Low Life you proclaim this song as truly terrific, really up and that is actually an edit of this the full 12" version which is a staple of the bands live sets. Are you really a fan at all? Okay the remix of Subculture has to be here for continuity's sake but then Shellshock is a wicked example of 80's electro-pop. Then okay State of the Nation ho hum and Shep Pettibones remix of BLT is fine then of course True Faith/1963, maybe their greatest moment? And they did release one other single later in 1987 which follows on well enough from T.F: Touched By The Hand of ! God, not bad on it's own. I have got the CD Video single of True Faith, very rare with a 7" edit of the Shep Pettibone remix & dub version of Angel Dust -'Evil dust', any offers!?

    Peter B
    I grew up listening to this Substance album. It deserves nothing less than a 10. It stands as one of the most cutting edge albums of all time, full of songs that people know and love, but don't know who they were by. New Order have always been mysterious back then, and when you compare their music to everything else at the time, they dominate. Substance is the #1 album of my life. I know that I may be one of the few to say this, but I really prefer Bernard's weak vocals over Ian's powerful voice.

    Technique 9 ( 1989 )
    Fine Time / All The Way / Love Less / Round And Round / Guilty Partner / Run / Mr Disco / Vanishing Point / Dream Attack

    An album that saw New Order re-located to Ibiza for the recording sessions. The sunshine and party atmosphere seems to have rubbed off on them somewhat, judging by this record. It is still New Order of course ( Peter Hook is present and correct! ) but the sunshine and disco techno are also present. It makes for a welcome updating of their sound actually, following the New Order by numbers that was 'Brotherhood'. A dash of Techno opens 'Fine Time' and a positively otherworldy and sometimes even growling Barney vocal performance. The early nineties 'madchester' scene begins here, the usual gloom and dourness of Manchester replaced by Disco and sunshine. Most importantly, New Order simply sound alive and full of energy in a way they hadn't for a good four years, at least. 'All The Way' is more standard fare but only in terms of the sound which more heavily incorporates Peter Hooks bass rather than rely on Techno beats. It's a New Order pop song infused with sunshine - happy and cheerful, quality stuff. A good Bernard Sumner vocal appears to enliven the mostly mellow but still hook filled 'Love Less'. A New Order updated, the production contemporary for the day but a sound that's dated well. It still sounds fresh. The disco and techno return for 'Round And Round'. Add in New Order keyboards, Peter Hooks bass and you get the quintessential sound of this 'Technique' record. Another song full of energy, dancefloor fodder, listening in your bedroom with headphones fodder. It works on a number of levels, another hook filler wonder. An album that's starting to take shape? 'Guilty Partner' amongst all this dancing and sunshine manages to sound more serious, returns to the growling and passion of 'Fine Time' for parts of Barneys vocal, the bass goes round and round. The sound they acheive here is enough to send chills down your spine. The whole album sounds fantastic, actually. Forget the producers! New Order can easily produce themselves, and it's proved here.

    A pop song akin to something like their own 'Age Of Consent' opens the second side of songs. The guitar and structure of the song do resemble 'Age Of Consent' although this is a more assured and confident performance. A relaxed feel to the song and still full of melodic touches, keyboard, guitar and bass lines. At this point, six songs in, you realise not a single song could be described as filler, that not a single song is simply a repetition of another song, that everything serves a purpose, everything enjoyable! 'Mr Disco' would have been an unthinkable Joy Division/New Order song title back in 1980. The clattering Techno is re-introduced, the song is kept rooted by the bass lines and keyboard melodies, pop melodies. The combination of the bass lines with the techno and pop nous, works very well indeed. A wonderful sound. 'Vanishing Point' repeat the sound, if not the atmosphere of 'Mr Disco'. The keyboards and percussion are more mellow, but still with energy and bite, if that makes sense. Guitar makes a welcome return for the closing 'Dream Attack'. Another evocative sounding song, another accomplished and thrilling musical track. When the Piano comes in following Barney's opening vocal, the track swings round to being a thing of sheer beauty. Mellow washes of keyboards, more accomplished vocals. A brilliant piece of work to close easily the most consistant New Order album. An album that took them back to the cutting edge of contemporary sounds and saw them pushing forwards once more.

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    Readers Comments

    Chris Shade fac73@myhoxton.net
    That year (1989) i got to travel extensively around Europe, from Spain to Germany to the Soviet Union. Technique went everywhere with me. Now no holiday is complete without this record. Sunshine and Beaches from the same people who did 'Shadowplay'. Who'd of thought it?

    David Owens davidowens78@yahoo.com
    Well, this is one album that I just can't get enough of - I must have listened to it about 1,000 times in the past 6 years, and it enjoys constant rotation on my mP3 at the moment. My favourite moment is the utterly thrilling Mr Disco. When I hear its opening electronic thuds I know I am in for a treat! Vanishing Point, Love Less, Fine Time and the closer Dream Attack are very strong too. Yes, this album is probably their best along with Substance, it definitely deserves its 9. Also, I don't think the band ever managed before or since the magical balance between robustness of sound and technology and songwriting craft that they managed here.

    Steve s.l.conway@gmail.com
    Technique: Had this on cassette through Uni in 1990. Lost it. Just got it back on cd after this review prompted me. Gorgeous. Dream Attack even better than my inflated recollection ogf years back. And the rest.

    Republic ( 1993 )
    Regret / World / Ruined In A Day / Spooky / Everyone Everywhere / Young Offender / Liar / Chemical / Times Change / Special / Avalanche

    There was a four year gap between 'Low Life' and 'Technique' but it was broken up by 'True Faith' and 'Touched By The Hand Of God'. Thus, this set was referred to as their 'comeback' album, which poses problems right from the start. All they'd released since 'Technique' had been a football song! It became their first ever UK number one. Well, what can you do? On to the business at hand. We open with three singles, and there were three singles taken from the album. They are all fine songs, but it spoils the flow of the record as a whole work. 'Regret' made for a fine leading single, all peter hook, all pop melodies - unmistakably New Order and unmistakably a good song. 'World' and 'Ruined In A Day' although much less sucessful upon release as singles, are for my money, far better songs than even 'Regret'. 'World' is classic New Order, more keyboard heavy than their early work but no more reliant on the dance beats than much of 'Technique'. It follows on logically from the sound of 'Technique' in fact, so much so, the four year gap becomes meaningless here. 'Ruined In A Day' is a lovely sounding slower song, faint hints of Trip Hop influences hidden behind beautiful keyboards and guitar. A world weary Barney vocal, a fine accomplished vocal. And then? AND THEN!!!!!!!? Um, wellllll..... 'Spooky' is horrible. Techno fury! House! It doesn't sound like New Order because it lacks the human element nearly all of their best work contains. Following 'Spooky', 'Everyone Everywhere' comes across as lacking much of a melody and is deathly slow. Well, mid-tempo actually but it sounds slow, if that makes sense. The techno beats employed for use in 'Young Offender' for some reason aren't nearly as annoying as the one's used of 'Everyone Everywhere'. Possibly because this song contains a much stronger melody. It still doesn't sound much like New Order though. God alone knows what Peter Hook did on the track.

    There were tensions within the group all surrounding the period ( and during ) the recording. The collapse of Factory Records just one of the problems. They'd taken a good five year hiatus following this record and split into various side projects. Barney sounded more like Barney, Peter Hook sounded more like Peter Hook and the other two became 'The Other Two'! Nothing to touch New Order at their peak, however. Nothing worse than much of what's here, however. 'Liar' could again, almost be anybody. It lacks anything characteristic to indicate who the group is bar very faint bass lines and slightly New Order esque keyboard lines. 'Chemical' on the surface is a techno mess, but containing an actually completely out of place Peter Hook bass line makes it funny, at least, if nothing else. 'Times Change' sees Barney rapping, 'Special' is very New Order by numbers, and we are really starting to struggle now. But, what's this? The closing 'Avalanche' restores at least some respectablity to the whole project, some sense of dignity. True, it sounds as little like New Order as much else of what's here but on the other hand, it sounds utterly beautiful. The only vocals are brief Gillian Gilbert moments. A track put together by Gillian and Stephen, actually. Interestingly. They simply weren't working in union on this record. The problem isn't with dance beats, etc. 'Technique' had been full of them, after all. The problem is actually just a lack of strong songs and strong melodies. After the opening trio of songs, there just isn't much else left.

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    Readers Comments

    Gustavo gbeneitez@yahoo.es
    I don't think Republic is a bad album. I always saw it as an improvement over techno beats in Technique. Maybe some songs are irregular, but the drums and bass are what I always loved from them.

    james trottier kidaphex@hotmail.com
    I used to think it was not a New Order album, but it's the one I find myself returning to the most. "Special" is probably one of the most underrated New Order track, Time's change, Chemical and the 3 opening singles all make it worthwhile, a lot more than Brotherhood, in any case ...

    Adam ad_rts_evolved@hotmail.com
    I disagree with your view on Everyone Everywhere. It has quite a nice atmosphere and the lyrics are actually quite catchy. Republic isn't what you call consistent but I don't think it's bad album at all.

    Dave Lee davelee1978@hotmail.com
    I disagree with much of what has been said. I believe that this is a much misunderstood album. The fact that it followed in the wake of 'Technique' (albeit 4 years later) has not helped its case. However, it has to be understood that this is a completely different album. It begins with that absolute stormer 'Regret', which is followed by 'World', at token New Order track, I feel. The rest of the album is relective, thought-provoking and intense. Unlike 'Technique', this is not an album to get you in Ibiza party-mode, or to play at full volume on a sunny day. It is best appreciated during sombre wet gloomy days (think Manchester for 10 months of the year!). 'Ruined in a Day', 'Everyone everywhere' and 'Spooky' are amazing. 'Spooky' is not, asw I have read before, techno nonsence. It is NO trying out a new dance-fused sound representative of the early 90s. It is actually deeply soulful, well sung and inspiring. Other standout tracks include 'Young Offender' and 'Special'. This! is an album that at times verges maybe on trip hop (a defunct term now!). Also, sounds good when listened to in the early hours after a night out. Highly underrated in my opinion.

    Get Ready ( 2001 )
    Crystal / 60 miles an hour / Turn My Way / Vicious Streak / Primitive Notion / Slow Jam / Rock the Shack / Someone Like You / Close Range / Run Wild

    With Gillian Gilbert taking time off due to pregnancy, New Order revert to a three piece here. Less keyboards, more guitars. Their rockiest album since 'Movement' in fact, and that really is going back in time! 'Crystal' made for a fine comeback single, sounding enough like New Order of old but within 'Get Ready's' newly installed guitar framework. We do get keyboards, of course. We also get female backing harmonies. The real star gem of a moment for me is following the first verse when Peter Hook comes in. And, boy does he come in! A fantastically thrilling bass line before the song swings back in best pop fashion. And, that's all it is. It's a guitar pop song. A pretty damn fine one though, you've got to admit. '60 Miles An Hour' has also been issued as a single. Lots of Peter Hook to admire once more, although the tune isn't nearly as memorable as 'Crystal'. Part of the problem with New Order's previous album, 'Republic' was that, following the singles, nothing else on that particular record even came close. It's not a problem here. 'Turn My Way' is still a guitar led song, in effect - but also includes backwards psychadelic elements, fine vocals - all pretty accomplished. 'Vicious Streak' given the songs title might be expected to explode out of the speakers and musically contain some amount of bite. It doesn't. What it does to is contain mellow keyboard lines behind the ever present and unmistakable sound of Peter Hook on bass. It's no classic but fits the album. This does feel a lot more like a whole, cohesive album experience than 'Republic' certainly, but other New Order records as well. An absolute gem of a track closes the first side. Try to imagine how Joy Division might have sounded musically in 2002 if Ian hadn't departed. Pretty close to this, I reckon. Fast and aggressive guitars and drum work of a fury and nature not heard on a New Order record since at least 1983. It still sounds modern, definitely a 2002 production, so to speak. And, it's a fine song, too. Not just a great sounding song!

    'Slow Jam' opens side two with another blast of guitars - riffs everywhere. A mid-tempo rock song with a strong vocal performance, especially. 'Rock The Shack' is dubious lyrically, the most straight-forward performance musically. Just a straight rock song, that's all. It lacks as good a blend of New Order old and new as other songs here. The opening to 'Someone Like You' reminds everyone of New Orders influence over dance music. A superbly done introduction, nice beats, good tinkling and atmospheric effects. A good dance tune. The vocals, when they appear - aren't all that great, the lyrics appear to be fairly banal. Musically, the song is pretty good though. 'Close Range' sounds a little clumsy and overly full of noise. It lacks good seperation between the various instrumentation coming across as very mushy sounding. Did I mention though the rhythm section cooks through pretty much this whole album? Well, i'm mentioning now! A nice surprise for the closing song rescues the second half. Add 'Run Wild' to 'Slow Jam' and there you have it. Nothing like a repeat of the second half of 'Low Life' here which is patently inferior to the first side of 'Low Life'. The second side of this 'Get Ready' album is inferior to the first side, as well - but not by as drastic a margin. Largely thanks to the sweet guitar led 'Run Wild'. Strummed acoustic guitars, an exposed and personal performance from Barney. A good, strong performance. A emulated string section appears following a sequence where we get just Barney and guitar. It comes in very well. The female harmonies re-appear. Hooky appears subtly during the instrumental breaks. All in all, a lovely song. Not a song that sounds like New Order, but the new elements are the string sections, the acoustic guitar. New Order's sound has obviously changed through the years. What 'Get Ready' does well is remind you of the greatest New Order moments from the past and point the way towards another style as well through the closing song, and certain other moments here.

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    Readers Comments

    Darren Babidge
    Gillian did write it and even sings on Someone like you. She has had time off to look after her and Stevens kid whom is very ill. She just doesnt tour anymore - her role taken over by Phill Cunningham - ex of a fabulous band called Marion

    JUstin heasman_justin@hotmail.com
    "Get Ready" 7 1/2?? That is very generous. I listened to it the other day; it's just okay. The new LP, minus a couple of duffers, track9 & 11 is an improvement. Also, everyone likes to rubbish "Republic", but the reality is, song for song, they haven't matched it since.

    Waiting For The Sirens Call 7 ( 2005 )
    Who's Joe / Hey Now What You Doing? / Waiting For The Sirens Call / Krafty / I Told You So / Morning Night And Day / Dracula's Castle / Jetstream / Guilt Is A Useless Emotion / Turn / Working Overtime

    In the sixteen years since 'Technique', New Order have released a grand total of three albums, including this one. It's an awfully long time-span in which the various band-members side-projects have often taken up more time than the main attration. Every new release these days is greeted as a come-back, as some kind of special event. New Order have always managed to sound contemporary through the years, often they've sounded innovative and groundbreaking. With this latest release, it could be said that the groups best days are certainly behind them. 'Waiting For The Sirens Call' contains familiar New Order elements. The keyboards, the drums, the dance/rock crossover, the techno and disco and the way with a pop hook that's always served them well. Lead single 'Krafty' is a delight to listen to, summery guitar-led pop that sounds fresh and classy. In a similar vein is second song here and potential single to my ears, 'Hey Now What You Doing?'. They do a great New Order mid-section complete with hooky solo that's a delight. It's a moment. The closing guitar thumper 'Working Overtime', jerky in its guitar rhythms almost reminds me of dour-mancuians, The Fall. Well, it's something in the water, we're told... 'Dracula's Castle' is possibly my favourite track here, fairly like a track from 'Technique', albeit one remixed for the 21st century. It works for me, anyway. Other songs here do their job, but a song such as the title track, as nice as it is, just sounds a little too familiar. Like a New Order by numbers that somebody has assembled with pro-tools, bits of past New Order and lyrics from a holiday catalogue.

    Actually, despite a good handful of classy and fine New Order moments as detailed above, 'Waiting For The Sirens Call' fails to contain a single new element, a single essential New Order moment and whilst it also fails to contain a single genuinely bad track - eventually just washes over you. If you removed the bass-guitar of Peter Hook and although he just does his trademark thing, too many of these songs would end up sounding dangerously plain and smooth. I do enjoy the six minute long dance track 'I Told You So', even though it fails to move me on an emotional level. The kind of sheer europhia that a song like 'Crystal' provided a listener with last time New Order surfaced is lacking from even the finest moments contained on 'Waiting For The Sirens Call'. It's a strange thing and not easy for me to put my finger on. All the correct elements are present musically, the lyrics are nothing to write home about, but certainly not cringe-worthy or anything. Perhaps it's just the lack of surprising elements this album presents us with, the lack of anything to make me go 'wow'. This isn't really a 'wow' album. It makes me smile in places, it's certainly easy to listen to and deserves to spawn two or three hit singles for the group. 'Waiting For The Sirens Call'? It's alright, it's nice.

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    Readers Comments

    david organica.design@gmail.com
    Any album that can move you to tears - which this album did during its TITLE track 2 hours ago - can't be all that bad? Or can it. I'm going to see these ex-pill-popping-ibiza geezers in 1 week. I hope they don't dissappoint like the last time during MOBY's AREA:1. Back to the album: title track, best cut on the album * in america (chicago) we get a final DANCE track/mix. Very uptempo. * Krafty - fine single. Overall, it's a young man's world. (Young women, too.) And New Order will make a DENT in the music soundscape. This album is for the fans. And this fan, for one, is delighted.

    Andreas Met andreasm@thefarmcreativegroup.com
    I like your reviews. The problem you are having with the album is that you have followed every album New Order has produced. Your familiarity makes you expect something more. I bought their second to last album and really liked that. But this thing is excellent. In a day when you can get all the free music you want, the 10.99 pounds was worth every penny. Classic med-song riffs, great out-takes, that polished sound! Being from the US I could have saved a few dollars by waiting to buy it at a Wal Mart. I'm glad I bought it earlier!

    Mark McKee nonegiven@nowhere.com
    "Waiting for the Sirens Call", "Krafty" and "Turn". Brilliant. I'm still warming up to the others, but these three I really enjoy. I've been loving NewOrder for 15+ years and that love has never waned.

    Stuart Johnson stuartjohns@stucj.freeserve.co.uk
    For me this is the best album since Technique. I agree with David, the title track is excellent as is "Turn". It's been a long time since I could listen to a track 10 times in a row and have it get better each time - definitely classic and essential tracks for me. Other favorites are Draculas Castle, Hey Now, Who's Joe and Guilt is useless emotion. Don't know why they chose Krafty and now Jetstram as the two singles - some of the weaker tracks IMHO. I bought my copy of the album in Japan and it has 3 extra versions of Krafy on it including, would you believe, Bernard singing the entire song in Japanese! - not a pretty sound!

    Adam matchless@shaw.ca
    Most of your reviews are pretty close to the mark, but I think you really missed the boat on this one. I have followed NO for the last 20 years and can honestly say that I believe this album is their best work to date. Previous albums have all shown flashes of brilliance but have been uneven; this one is the one where all the pieces finally fell into place. The title track is, in my opinion, the best thing they have ever written. "Hey now what you doing", "Dracula's Castle", and "Turn" are all perfect examples of what this band should have sounded like for the last 25 years.

    Danny danny@leftoffthedial.com
    The first 2 times I heard this I didn't really like the album much. Opening with Who's Joe, my least favorite track didn't exactly help. Then I started listening to it in my car everyday, and it grew big time on me. Even the title track and Krafty grew on me which I opriginally found weak. Jetstream is silly but it works in the context of the album to lighten stuff up, and I always find myself singing along to it. Turn and working overtime are some of the best rockers they've ever done. One of their most cohesive releases ever-give it a fair chance.

    Music Complete 8 ( 2016 )
    Restless / Singularity / Plastic / Tutti Frutti / People On The High Line / Stray Dog / Academic / Nothing But A Fool / Unlearn This Hatred / The Game / Superheated

    The first New Order album without founder member Peter Hook unsurprisingly goes for a more dance direction - both Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris admitting to listening to a quantity of Italian House music prior to beginning the recording sessions for this LP. It's known there were two writing camps, Morris and Gillian Gilbert in one corner and Bernard in the other. The new members of New Order have all been plucked from recent Bernard Sumner side-projects, Phil Cunnigham of Marion and Bad Lieutenant plays guitar and Tom Chapman also formerly of Bad Lieutenant steps into the big hole left by Peter Hook on Bass. The fact that Gillian apart, this lineup of New Order essentially IS the Bad Lieutenant touring band - it's easy to be as cynical as Hooky no doubt is - and declare the whole enterprise as not exactly 'valid' New Order. It's also very easy to imagine the album selling about a tenth of the amount were it released as a Bad Lieutenant album rather than a New Order release.

    Mute Records is the new record label for New Order (at least in the UK) and New Order being on Mute makes perfect sense, what with Mute founder Daniel Miller being something of an electronic pioneer. That he's also listed as executive producer for the record is telling as well, I can well imagine Daniel being responsible for quality control here. Other production credits include Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers who also receives co-writing credits for 'Singularity' and 'Unlearn This Hatred'. Other album guests include Brandon Flowers of The Killers on vocals (track 11), Iggy Pop on vocals (track 6) and La Roux on vocals (tracks 4 and 5). The lead single was 'Restless', a hit nowhere at all on earth it seems, apart from Belgium for some reason, where it peaked at number 39. It's a five minute song that's very much New Order by numbers, although it does have a decent enough pop melody and gives new man Tom Chapman the chance to prove playing all those New Order Peter Hook bass-lines live has given him enough to be able to also ape Hooky in sound, if not spirit, in the studio.

    'Restless' actually has little in common with the rest of the album, but with modern day New Order it's fairly typical of them to open up an album with the lead single. Far better is the dance-number 'Singularity', another five minute plus track - but neither of the opening numbers contain any flab. 'Singularity' remember is a tune with added Tom Rowlands of Chemical Brothers fame, it's certainly audible within the grooves. A modern update on the late 80s New Order then? Well, pretty much and pretty much a very good take on it, too. 'Plastic' ups the dance grooves even further, the House music influences to the core during an opening 90 second instrumental opening before Sumner comes in with soft, floating vocals. Yes, Sumner does rhyme 'Fantastic' with 'Iconic' and no doubt 'Plastic' and many other words ending in 'ic' but when a classic New Order sounding guitar line pops up amidst the techno, smiles are raised in our house at least.

    If there's one main fault with 'Music Complete', it's too long. Cut down to eight tracks running to around 44 minutes just like a mid-eighties New Order album would have been perfect. As it is, an hour plus is a bit much in a single sitting. Fact fans, a deluxe vinyl edition released panders largely to Stephen Morris who wanted nearly all of these tracks to be longer still, like New Order 12" re-mixes of the past, I suppose. 'Tutti Frutti' has a strong melody and nice backing from 'La Roux'. The six minute 'People On The High Line' is a dance-pop-Ibiza type track too far - one of the songs I'd ditch to achieve an eight track ideal album version of 'Music Complete. 'Stray Dog' will be some listeners favorite track, Iggy Pop does a fine spoken word turn whilst New Order magnificently groove electronically beneath him. Other listeners may be fairly non-plussed however, not seeing this as a 'proper' song. I guess it depends which era of New Order you grew up with, for me, this experimentation is something 'Music Complete' arguably needs even more of. 'Academic' is guitar-pop New Order, much like 'Restless' and perhaps indicates Bernard, Stephen and Gillian were correct to go down the dance route for the majority of songs on 'Music Complete', the dance numbers having much more vitality about them. 'Academic' is perfectly fine as things stand, but sounds overproduced to these ears.

    New Order student Brandon Flowers pops up on 'The Game' and evens get a writing credit. I don't like Brandon Flowers, so will mention no more of this - although it's actually a better tune than either 'Unlearn This Hatred' or 'Nothing But A Fool', the latter running to nearly eight minutes and seemingly three different scraps of songs stitched together and, of course, entirely a studio creation rather than a piece of songwriting as such. The closing 'Superheated' opens with atmospheric synth lines, Gillian clearly audible here, her style is present. The song bounces along and offers hope and light outside of the dark night-club atmospheres of the weaker dance tracks such as 'Nothing But A Fool'.

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    this page last updated 10/01/16

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