New Order / Movement


New Order are an English rock band formed in 1980, currently comprising Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham and Tom Chapman. The band was formed in 1980 by Sumner (vocals, guitars, keyboards and synthesisers), Morris (drums, electronic drums, keyboards and synthesisers) and Peter Hook (bass, backing vocals, keyboards and electronic drums), who were the remaining members of post-punk group Joy Division following the suicide of vocalist Ian Curtis – with the addition of Gilbert (keyboards, synthesisers and guitars).

By combining post-punk with an increasing influence from electronic dance music, New Order became one of the most critically acclaimed and influential bands of the 1980s.[2] Though the band’s early years were shadowed by the legacy and basic sound of Joy Division, their experience of the early 1980s New York City club scene increased their knowledge of dance music and helped them incorporate elements of that style into their work. The band’s 1983 hit “Blue Monday“, the best-selling 12-inch single of all time, is one example of how their sound became increasingly uptempo and electronic.[3]

New Order were the flagship band for Manchester-based independent record label Factory Records. Their unlabelled album sleeves and “non-image” (the band rarely gave interviews and were known for performing short concert sets with no encores) reflected the label’s aesthetic of doing whatever the relevant parties wanted to do, including an aversion to including singles as album tracks until 1984. Because of the band’s dance-rock genre it has a complex discography, with many well-known songs not featured on studio albums or released in a variety of mixes. Throughout their career, the band’s records were carefully art-directed by Mancunian designer Peter Saville.

The group disbanded in 1993 to work on individual projects, and reunited in 1998. In 2001, Cunningham (guitars, keyboards and synthesisers) replaced Gilbert, who took a sabbatical from the band because of family commitments. In 2007, Hook left the band over personal conflicts.[4] After Hook’s departure, Sumner, Cunningham, and Morris worked on Bad Lieutenant and the band reunited in 2011 without Hook, with Gilbert returning and Chapman replacing Hook on bass.[5] During the band’s career and in between lengthy breaks, band members have been involved in several solo projects, such as Sumner’s Electronic and Bad Lieutenant; Hook’s Monaco and Revenge and Gilbert and Morris’ The Other Two. Cunningham was previously a member of Marion and with Sumner, and Chapman was a member of Bad Lieutenant.

In September 2015, the band released their tenth studio album, Music Complete.

Movement is the debut studio album by the English rock band New Order, released in November 1981 on Factory Records. At the time of its release, the album was not particularly well received by critics or consumers, only peaking at number thirty on the UK Albums Chart. Subsequent critical reception for Movement have been very positive.

In 2008 the album was re-released in a Collector’s Edition with a bonus disc.

Slant Magazine listed the album at No. 42 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s” saying “Movement exists almost exactly in between Joy Division’s post-punk sound and the synth-pop style that would come to define New Order and influence pop music for decades”.

In 2015, after the release of their tenth album, Music Complete, the album was remastered and released in the US iTunes Store.

The Analysis—-

Dreams Never End—-At the onset of the track you can definitely hear the Joy Division overtones left over with the band. The synth is present but not as overt as in later material from the band. The ever present Hook bass is hear as well. Summer delivers a vocal very similar to Ian Curtis as he tries to find his way. This is a monumental track….a shape of the things to come. For me, still one of the best tracks the band has produced.

Truth—-Moving the synths in at the very onset of the track, the bass line gives the song a very dark feel. The Arabic type swirl of the song gives it a mystic and dis-embodied feel. Bernard delivers a vocal that is less than perfect…making it even more charming….he sings in that lower tone as he tries to mimic Curtis and find his own style. This is dark and haunting. Strange days indeed…..

Senses—-A bit more spirited with a jaunty synth line, the bass line still creates a dark landscape to the song. Despite the bass line, the jaunty synth gives us glimpses of the shape of things to come. Bernard manages a higher vocal that sounds more natural and relaxed and the sound effects that echo through the song make it friendlier to the ear. This is a nice cut between post-punk and the emerging synth heavy 80’s.

Chosen Time—-Removing the overt bass line makes for a much brighter track here….the sound seems clearer and less bogged down. The vocal is so distant in the mix though…pushed way behind the brighter synth line making it almost impossible to hear. This is not a bad track….brighter and more lively…but the production quality is lacking.

ICB—-Of course, the beginning of the track ushers back in the bass line we have become so familiar with. The synths and slight blips and beeps create an interesting landscape. The vocal sounds strained and uncomfortable as Summer still struggles to find his way, but I must say the production is much better. The music still seems at the very front of the mix…but you can still catch the lyrics….this is a great under-rated track.

The Him—-Deep and intense, copying musical lines from Dreams Never End, this is almost like part II of that song. The swirls give slight glimpses of light, but the bass line and tribal drums create a fairly dark atmosphere. Again, the vocal is almost muted and pushed to the back of the mix. The track moves so slow until the mid point when it erupts in a mass of speed that moves it to greater heights, slowing again at a moments notice. This is a schizophrenic song of movements and moods.

Doubts Even Here—-Wisps of brightness and swirls of atmosphere kick off this track, but the deep muted sound envelopes the mood rather quickly. The vocal moves at a snails pace as the bass line takes center stage and drags the song down into depths of despair. I know the band was struggling at this point…but the whole affair is rather depressing to me. This is not horrible…but it is a chore to get through.

Denial—-Ending the release with a brighter feel at the onset, you can actually hear the crisp guitar line over the usual bass heavy intro. Of course the voice is a bit removed, but the feel of the song is happier. The lyrics are not necessarily so…but the crisper tone of the song gives us fore-sight into what the band would sound like in the future.

***1/2 out of 5


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