New Order: Music Complete review – fresh, danceable album with intriguing diversions

(Mute)

There’s been no love lost between Peter Hook and the rest of New Order since the bassist left the band in 2007: “an uppity session man” was Hook’s recent appraisal of his replacement, Tom Chapman. But it’s an acrimony that doesn’t seem to have held back Music Complete, the group’s first proper album in a decade. In fact, while Hook’s basslines always used to be an integral part of New Order’s sound, Tutti Frutti and People on the High Line both benefit from a freedom to experiment with the lower end of things: the former a camp disco number and the latter conjuring a bendy groove over which a riot of cowbells and funky Chic guitars can shake loose. Both tracks exemplify what is a largely dancefloor-oriented album (Chemical Brother Tom Rowlands produces a couple of tracks) that harks back to Technique, but also features diversions into other novel areas: Iggy Pop’s gravel-throated spoken word on Stray Dog; Brandon Flowers’ melodic nous on Superheated. It’s a little long, there’s the odd duff track, and even in the pantheon of Bernard Sumner lyrical clunkers there needs to be some sort of special recognition award for “I want a nice car / A girlfriend who’s as pretty as a star.” But Music Complete still feels like the freshest thing they’ve done in ages.

Contributor

Tim Jonze

The GuardianTramp

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