published: 17 /
The old saying goes 'don't judge a book by a cover'. To judge New Order's latest album by its sleeve artwork would be a costly mistake indeed. For over two decades now Peter Saville has been stylishly
The old saying goes 'don't judge a book by a cover'. To judge New Order's latest album by its sleeve artwork would be a costly mistake indeed. For over two decades now Peter Saville has been stylishly dressing Joy Division and New Order records. Sadly he seems to have lost the plot with this one. No matter. New Order's return from the wilderness after some less than successful side projects is nothing short of sensational.
Quite how the band (albeit different in name and by one member) that released 'Unknown Pleasures' back in 1979 can still be producing records with such vitality over twenty years down the line is flabbergasting. Gone are the tensions of a band tired of touring, of a band that didn't want to be in each other's presence let alone making a record together. Not only will 'Get Ready' succeed in winning back all the die- hard fans disappointed by their most recent offerings, it looks set to bring a whole new swathe of admirers to the fold.
The album itself has a surprisingly organic, human feel about it. It's the most guitar heavy record the band has released since the post-Joy Division echoes of 'Movement'. Especially strange when you consider it was New Order themselves who, throughout the 80's, pioneered the form of sequenced electronic dance music with such success. Where the band previously used sequencers to pile drive their songs along, here keyboards are utilised merely to embellish their art. 'Get Ready' also sees Steve Morris abandoning his drum machines and climb behind his kit to remind us just what a top drummer he is.
Opening track 'Crystal' preceded the long player as a single and gave us our first inkling that New Order were back to their best. One could be forgiven for thinking this is Mansun's latest offering - until the wandering bass line crashes in. Sumner's lyrical frailties that we has all grown to love over the years are still here in all their glory ("Here comes love, it's like honey, you can buy it with money"). So too are Peter Hook's unmistakable, soaring trademark bass lines. His ability to carry the melody of a song is so vital in New Order's chemistry. Something very evident in the ebb and flow of '60 Miles An Hour', the album's 'Age of Consent'.
The fragile frankness of 'Turn My Way' features the distinctive backing vocals of one Billy Corgan (of Smashing Pumpkins fame), who stepped out live earlier in the year with the band at their Liverpool concert back in July. 'Primitive Notion' is a throwback to Joy Division days, with its hypnotic drumbeat, ethereal keyboard washes and chiming bass intro, while the electro-squelches at the start of 'Slow Jam' soon give way to the torrential buzz of Sumner's phased guitar. New Order continue to rock out to full effect on the aptly named 'Rock the Shack'. Is this the Jesus and Mary Chain? No - just Bobby Gillespie popping up for a spot of guest vocals.
'Someone Lke You', one of the album's strongest and longest tracks, encapsulates why New Order are so special and captures the band at their commercial best with its shimmering keyboard sequences. It's a real 'up' song (in-keeping with the theme of the whole album) with Sumners "We're having the times of our lives" chorus hook melting into Gillian Gilbert's backing vocals effortlessly.
After the rhythmic 'Close Range', the album closes with the mellow acoustic strum of 'Run Wild'. And with Sumner dusting off his old mellotron we really do have all the ingredients of a classic New Order LP.
60 Miles An Hour
Turn My Way
Rock The Shack
Someone Like You
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