tue 23/04/2024

Albums of 2015: New Order - Music Complete | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of 2015: New Order - Music Complete

Albums of 2015: New Order - Music Complete

New Order demonstrate that you can grow older loudly

'Music Complete': nothing remotely resembling a duff track

It had been a decade-long wait for this first collection of new material since Waiting for the Siren's Call, but reports of New Order's creative atrophy proved ill-informed.

The rancorous departure of bassman Peter Hook rumbled on in the background, but new man Tom Chapman slotted in with practised ease, and with Gillian Gilbert back aboard, the New Order collective sounded as punchy and cohesive as it ever had, mixing thumping rock and dance beats with a euphoric blitz of electronica.

It was the disc's clarity and sense of purpose that impressed most. Addressing the question of how to sound relevant 35 years into your career, the group responded with unimpeachable logic by seizing a bunch of timeless grooves and treating them to a massive sonic overhaul. Thus, Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" was reborn as the monster groove of "Plastic", the DNA of Chic was firmly embedded in "People on the High Line", and "Relax" rode again in the Italian-tinted "Tutti Frutti".

It was interesting, even if possibly irrelevant, to compare their approach with other old-timers going in to bat in 2015. Don Henley went back to his Texas roots and made a sublime old-fashioned country album, Cass County. Keith Richards stepped out as a rogueish soul survivor on the bluesy, lived-in Crosseyed Heart. James Taylor delivered his first new songs in a dozen years on Before This World, and still sounded soporifically wistful, even on a protest song called "Far Afghanistan". Quelle surprise. Bob Dylan probed new frontiers of oddness by making an album of Great American Songbook standards (The Bard Does Rod?), and after reading many rave reviews I still didn't get it.

However, Bob hedged his bets by releasing another instalment of his Bootleg Series, The Cutting Edge, this time covering the Bringing It All Back Home/Highway 61/Blonde on Blonde era, often considered his finest hours. There were plenty of gems there and lots of throwaway stuff too, which is why it was never released in the first place. But the bigger story is the epidemic of Historical Bloat, in which albums that were great must somehow be even greater if atomised across two, six or 18 discs and resold at cosmic prices. Bruce Springsteen was at it too, with a four CD/three DVD version of The River and attendant stuff (only 70 quid on Amazon). Better to feed your head with Miles Davis At Newport 1955-1975, a priceless survey of the cantankerous trumpeter's evolution from Fifties bop to sizzling Seventies fusion. Nice.

It was the disc's clarity and sense of purpose that impressed most

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters