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New Order - Get Ready Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 October 2001
Get Ready,
Reprise Records, 2001
| Performance 8 | Sound 7 |

ImageEight years is a long time between albums, even by modern standards, but New Order is back with more of its own unique take on alternative dance. Unlike typical dance music -- which is typified by phat bass lines and celebratory melodies -- New Order packs its songs with plenty of chunky guitar riffs, angry vocals and ultra-moody tunes.

New Order evolved from the ashes of Joy Division, which, by the way, also distorted preconceptions about what danceable music could sound like as it placed Ian Curtis’ despondent lyrics over a bed of club-ready beats. One new song, "Primitive Notion," is representative of what New Order does best, and its title (probably not coincidently) describes just how the quartet does it.

Peter Hook’s recognizable lead bass lines, which sound more like guitar parts than anything else, are followed by Bernard Sumner’s out-front electric guitar strums over a stuttering drum accompaniment. These sounds act as the launching pad for Sumner’s petulantly snotty vocals. It all adds up to something somehow New Order-ish.

Sumner is not completely alone in his singing this time out, as Billy Corgan (formally of Smashing Pumpkins) vocally assists on the whiny "Turn My Way," and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie shouts along with him on the punkish "Rock the Shack."

Much of this disc is a garage-y thrash-about affair, but it does have its gentler moments. "Vicious Streak," for example, is built upon tick-tocking percussion, a string-like synth stream, echoing surf-esque guitar patterns and Sumner’s vulnerable singing.

It’s inappropriate to label New Order as a mere dance band, since they’re much closer to a gang of rockers who just happen to enjoy hanging out at dance clubs. The loping big guitar on "Slow Jam" reveals immediately how this song is not at all an ode to old school soul music (as its title might suggest), but is instead more like New Order’s tribute to the lad rock sound of Oasis.

New Order will not revolutionize the auditory world with the production on this release, since it’s not really a studio album, per se. Instead, the recording captures a rock band letting it all out in the studio. The principles of looseness and spontaneity have been valued far above getting the perfect sound on tape, which is in itself an admirable accomplishment.

Also, the lyrics on "Get Ready" will never be quoted as poetry in any literature classes, because Sumner’s words are not labored over and sometimes sound like they’re made up as he goes along. Nonetheless, his unsteady singing lends these simple phrases a little extra sincerity.

New Order may have waited an inordinate amount of time before releasing its latest missive, but they were obviously ready to go when the time came.

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