It’s been ten years since a proper studio album from New Order has been released, and I was certainly skeptical about how it would sound. Fortunately, New Order did not disappoint. To be perfectly clear, I’m a huge fan of the band, but their last two releases have been pretty lame. With Music Compete, they came roaring back with their classic sound that made them icons in the early days of alternative.
Legendary bassist Peter Hook left the band a few years ago and is not on this album. Let’s get that out of the way right now. His signature bass lines are a fundamental part of the band, and I definitely miss his contributions. But New Order handled the situation in the best way. They use the bass guitar just enough so that it sounds like them, but they don’t try to overcompensate and imitate his work.
It’s a solid album. Songs like “Plastic” and “Tutti Frutti” are electronic dance anthems and sound like they belong on the Technique album. Tracks like “Restless” remind me of songs like “Regret” from the early 90’s. Other songs like “Unlearn This Hatred” remind me of the Brotherhood and Power, Corruption, and Lies albums. The new album is like a trip through New Order’s classic discography; you’ll want to turn it up!
The legendary Iggy Pop is a guest vocalist on the spoken word track “Stray Dog.” His eerie delivery takes you to a dark side that is almost reminiscent of Joy Division–with the exception of the uptempo beat behind the track.
Brandon Flowers of The Killers co-wrote and is a guest vocalist on the album’s closing son “Superheated.” I’ve known of his fascination with 80’s new wave bands from various interviews I’ve done with him, and I’m sure it was a dream come true to get to write and sing with New Order. He and Bernard Sumner have been making surprise appearances at each other’s shows in the past few years, so it’s cool that they did a song together.
If you love New Order, I highly recommend Music Complete. My favorite track is “Plastic.” Crank it up and pretend it’s 1987 again!
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