NEW ORDER – Music Complete [Japanese Edition] (2015)
Not only Melodic Hard Rock / AOR acts from the ’80s scene are returning to the fore, but also many ‘big’ Rock&pop bands. There were major fails recently like A-ha or Duran Duran, however this is not the case with NEW ORDER and their brand new record “Music Complete”.
The album will be released September 25, but this “Music Complete Japanese Edition” including a bonus track (plus a limited edition t-shirt) appeared today.
New Order always was more ‘synthwave / electronic’ than their contemporaries yet with a stronger songwriting quality. “Music Complete” is the band’s more mature recording, even better than anything released during their heyday.
Three years ago, New Order returned for a series of live shows, and the great response from the public encouraged a comeback. Less than seven months had passed since New Order officially reunited, and in that time, they had only performed a dozen shows all of which consisted of a carbon copy setlist chock full of serviceable fan favorite hits.
Missing was bassist Peter Hook, who had walked off back in 2007, only to kick off a nostalgic run of books and tours that capitalized on the Joy Division and New Order brands. Yet, returning to the fold was keyboardist Gillian Gilbert. Having played with vocalist Bernard Sumner in the past, bassist Tom Chapman was tagged to replace Hook, rounding out the early days of New Order’s murky and uncertain new era.
That future is now wide open and bright thanks to “Music Complete”. As the band’s first official album of new material since 2005, this new release finds New Order turning the knobs down on the six-strings in lieu of a fresh electronic sound. It’s an assured return to an arena that has become all too popular for the band.
“Restless”, “Singularity”, and “Plastic” might be the strongest three-prong opener of any pop album released this year — or even in the last half decade. Histrionic statement? Possibly, but try sitting down after that 18-minute blow to the feet.
Sumner goes into full-on Rocky mode and proves it’s not over ’til it’s over for this band of veterans. The tracks are energetic and pummeling, but they’re also subtly fueled by serious issues. Sumner isn’t exactly foaming at the mouth here, but he does get a little heated lyrically, venting about greed and consumption (“Restless”) and disintegrating relationships (“Plastic”).
Because it’s loaded with guests, there’s a transparent curatorial awareness to “Music Complete”, one that’s surprisingly engaging and effective. La Roux’s Elly Jackson adds power to the already fiery “Plastic”, but vocally elevates “Tutti Frutti” and “People on the High Line” with a bubbly cadence and a youthful wash.
Iggy Pop channels Leonard Cohen to agreeable effect on “Stray Dog”, arguably this album’s ‘Giorgio by Moroder’ number. And longtime fan and friend Brandon Flowers harmonizes alongside Sumner on “Superheated” to yank the curtain down with supreme melody.
Behind the scenes, The Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands injects some adrenaline into “Singularity” and “Unlearn this Hatred”, while super-producer Stuart Price signs off on the starry closer.
It’s interesting to note that when they are on their own, New Order tends to turn towards more guitar-driven work — however, they still sound so fresh and assured. “Oh baby, I remember you,” Sumner croons late into the album on “Academic”, and really, he could just as well be talking about himself. Seven tracks in, he’s still oozing searing confidence, and you can almost see the smile curl up his face when he turns toward his six-string for the extended solo.
This, “Restless”, “Nothing But a Fool”, and “The Game” are all sans guests and, not surprisingly, they’re more ‘rockin’ I’d say. It’s almost as if they saved the true dancing synthwave for their friends.
“Music Complete” is going to go down as one of New Order’s finest works. It is where the band come back out of the dark and into the sun.
It’s plenty of really cool melodies, pumpy rhythms, all golden pop catchiness with essence. You have electronics, yes, but also elaborated rock&pop tunes. It’s the rare late era LP that blossoms with life, while also echoing the past, as Peter Saville’s minimalist cover art suggests.
New Order 『Music Complete TRCP-200』
《国内盤CD / MUTE ロゴ・ステッカー付》
01 – Restless
02 – Singularity
03 – Plastic
04 – Trutti Frutti
05 – People On The High Line
06 – Stray Dog
07 – Academic
08 – Nothing But A Fool
09 – Unlearn This Hatred
10 – The Game
11 – Superheated
12 – Restless [Extended Mix] *
* (Japanese bonus track)
Bernard Sumner – vocals, guitar, synthesisers
Stephen Morris – drums, keyboards, programming
Gillian Gilbert – keyboards
Phil Cunningham – keyboards, guitars, percussion
Tom Chapman – bass, synthesisers
Elly Jackson – guest vocals
Brandon Flowers – guest vocals
Iggy Pop – guest vocals
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