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neworder musiccomplete
Artist: New Order
Title: Music Complete
Genre: New Wave
Release Date: 25th September 2015
Label: Mute Records

Album Review

Like any NEW ORDER release, there will be some intense discussions on the social network within the fans. I can already read the comments: “New Order is not NEW ORDER without Hook on the bass”, “This is too disco / too techno / too pop / too blah blah blah”. So, let's cut the story short and listen to this eagerly anticipated new album. The opener ‘Restless’ is a pure NEW ORDER pop hymn, driven by acoustic rhythm guitar, deep synth pads and a pure Hookie's bass line... without Hook. The voice of Barney sounds deep. This opening track makes a statement: Back to our sound.

‘Singularity’ intro even takes back to the early days' atmospheres, very cold wave driven before heading to a more and more electro style as the songs goes by. This song is like a journey in their various styles from Joy Division to the huge synth hooks of the Pump Panel Remix of ‘Confusion’ made famous by the rave scene of the vampire movie ‘Blade’. ‘Plastic’ carries on to the dance floor and clearly reminds of the ‘Technique’ and Electronic's first albums era. This could easily be written with the Pet Shop Boys. It's also, with the two following tracks, the eagerly anticipated collaboration with Elly Jackson, the voice of LA ROUX. It's an almost 7mn highly energetic, almost trancey.

‘Tutti Frutti’ continues on the pop/ dance path... almost Italo disco to be fair. But it works very well as there's still this melancholy that characterizes NEW ORDER: Romantic dance music. At this stage of the album, the work on the arrangements and the richness of it are remarkable. No track lets more than one minute without a new part coming in, a clean guitar here, a new synth hook there, some violins... ‘People On The High Line’ is almost Duran-esque in all aspects: funky guitars “à la” Nile Rogers, pure John Taylor's style bass line and house piano that Nick Rhodes would have appreciate. Even the vocal line could have been a Le Bon's. Not sure all of NEW ORDER's fans will agree with that... but I agree to disagree as we say.

Despite the clear Pop orientation of the album, and what a talent still intact for song-writing, it's important to notice the length of the tracks and the will to not be prisoner of the pop format. Five of the songs are more than six minutes long and apart from the 4'19's ‘Unlearn this hatred’, all of them are above five minutes. Which results in songs built by layers, with multiples breaks. Another eagerly anticipated collaboration is the one with Mister Iggy Pop on ‘Stray Dog’. A deep and haunting talk over on a progressive speed tempo track full of synths pads, electro sequences, violins, and guitars of course. This one is close in some aspects to the kind of B Sides Electronic used to released.

‘Academic’ is closer to usual NEW ORDER's pop hymn, such as the opener ‘Restless’. ‘Nothing But A Fool’ is a 7'43 weird journey. It starts in a dark and oriental acoustic mood, reminding of the CURE's ‘Kiss Me Kiss Me’ times, carries on in a pure cold wave style versus to end up in a very pop chorus. ‘Unlearn The Hatred’ is back to techno-ish style and heads up to the dance floor with, once again, a killer chorus. ‘The Game’ is another very dancey and completely crazy tracks. A constant switch from a style to another. This album is clearly a re-visitation of all NEW ORDER's era and sounds.

The albums ends up on the six minutes ‘Superheated’, featuring Brandon Flowers from THE KILLERS. It's hard to imagine what went through Flowers' mind when he recorded this song as we know how important and major the influence of NEW ORDER had on THE KILLERS' music. This is another electronic pop song destined to the charts and dance floors. As a bonus track available on the Japanese Edition, the Extended mix of ‘Restless’, a pure 80's style Extended version.

How to sum it up? To steal and adapt a quote from Rolling Stones magazine talking about the new DURAN's album: “If ‘Music Complete’ was a debut from some upstart band, the buzz would be insane”. Just like most of the 80's bands still in action today, (and there are a lot: Simple Minds, OMD, Duran, A Ha...), after years of survival, having experienced different styles and orientations, which didn't always resulted in artistic or commercial success but is more than honourable, not to say remarkable, NEW ORDER went back to their DNA, to the music that somehow shaped the sound of the 80's and brought pop anthems in the dance clubs.

‘Techniques’ (1989) is probably the past album that came the most to my mind when listening to ‘Music Complete’. But it's not a reboot! This album sounds fresh and new. There's far more energy and innovation is this “grandfather”'s album than in a lot of youngster efforts. Yep. The old guys still rule and are still very challenging and exciting. NEW ORDER is in full form and, I may disagree with a lot of fans, with or without Hook, this IS a great NEW ORDER album. With the soul and the talent that gave birth to incredible albums and hit singles over the last 3,5 decades


01. Restless
02. Singularity
03. Plastic (feat Elly Jackson of La Roux)
04. Trutti Frutti (feat Elly Jackson of La Roux)
05. People On The High Line (feat Elly Jackson of La Roux)
06. Stray Dog (feat Iggy Pop)
07. Academic
08. Nothing But A Fool
09. Unlearn This Hatred
10. The Game
11. Superheated (feat Brandon Flowers of The Killers)
12. BONUS TRACK (Japan Edition) : Restless (Extended Bonus Mix)


Bernard Sumner - Vocals, Guitar
Stephen Morris - Drums
Gillian Gilbert - Keyboards
Phil Cunningham - Guitar
Tom Chapman - Bass

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Cover Picture

neworder musiccomplete


Music: 10
Sound: 10
Total: 10 / 10

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