The Album Collection: #26 – New Order, Music Complete

by Charlie_East_West on October 6, 2015


After a summer hiatus, we welcome you all back to the next in our series of The Album Collection. We also welcome back New Order.

New Order have just released their finest album since back in the days when I was casually drinking Diamond White down at the local village park.
Music Complete is a bloody triumph. Welcome back to the main area, New Order, you have been missed.

This album has managed to rustle up some of the best and most addictive pop/rock of 2015 whilst stepping back to their imperial phase of the 1980s.

For anyone who is sceptical about a 2015 New Order line up without the master of the low bass line – Peter Hook, please don’t worry – New Order have replaced Peter Hook with the sound that is 100% Peter Hook. That bass line, the electronica, Sumner’s distinctive delivery – they are all still in place. So, please listen without prejudice.

Stand out tracks include Singularity, Academic, Plastic, Nothing but a Fool, Walk the High Line and Superheated. The album also contains well placed and perfectly pitched collaborations with Iggy Pop, La Roux and Brandon Flowers – a man born to sing on Superheated.

While New Order remain true to their magical and distinctive sound, they have livened things up enough in the right places to keep the listener on their toes, so much so, that this album feels like a futuristic sound rather than just a derivative blast from the past.

Lyrically, there are some poignant lessons in here – “you’re like plastic, you’re artificial” – which might be a pop at a former band member or the wider context of living in a depressingly vacous world where materialism rules as the poor and vulnerable continue to suffer.

Yes, New Order may not truly be New Order without their midfield general, Peter Hook, but on this album, New Order confidently sound like Peter Hook while offering up a number of euphoric additions that move the band towards the outer reaches of LCD Soundsystem, La Roux and Arcade Fire’s Reflektor phase. New Order have fulfilled their own brief – they have remembered to sound like New Order, but in the context of 2015, rather than the 1980s.

2015 has brought us a healthy number great albums. New Order’s latest offering deserves to be right up there on the end of year “best of 2015” lists. What a glorious, joyous surpise – a bloody great New Order album that is a hell of a lot of fun to listen to.

So is New Order still New Order without Peter Hook? That question in itself opens up a whole new debate. But, when judging this album purely on its own merits, the judgement is one of celebration towards a fine album made without Peter Hook rather than concern about a New Order album made without Peter Hook.

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