Music Complete is the tenth studio album by the English rock band New Order. It was released on 25 September 2015 by Mute Records, their debut on the label. The album features guest vocals from Elly Jackson of La Roux, Iggy Pop and Brandon Flowers.
During summer 2015, New Order promoted the album through online media, at Lollapalooza Chile with “Singularity” and “Plastic“, and half-minute snippets directly on their YouTube account. It was announced that Gillian Gilbert returned to the band, but with Tom Chapman taking Peter Hook‘s bassist role.
The album itself musically is more electronic-focused than its two predecessors, and New Order’s first of new material in a decade. The cover art was designed by long-time collaborator Peter Saville, which comprises a montage of lines with four colour schemes: red, yellow, green, and blue, which varies depending on packaging.
Restless—-I smile inwardly still at the opening strains to this song and ensuing album. It was a long time coming to the fans, and in my opinion did not suffer from the lack of Hooky on the bass…it was rather predictable and old after a bit. The vocal is outstanding…..Summer sounds re-invigorated and alive and Gilbert adds to the fullness of the track with her added vocal. This is superb….a true mastery of what this band is all about.
Singularity—-With a bit of a darker sound at the onset, this swirls around your head as you wait for the song to truly open up and take shape. The underlying fast synth line keeps the song moving at a great pace. You really don’t even miss the pronounced bass line. Summer sounds so fresh and young…like the years have refused to age him. There is a great energy to this whole song….dance floor ready and reminiscent of some of the great classic tracks from NO catalog. Just wonderful!
Plastic—-With a nice quirky synth line, the song is a nice throwback to the early singles from the band when they were just discovering the power of the dance floor. The bass line kicks in and the song takes on a shifting shape that moves you to want to jump up and down and revel in the days of your youth. Bernard delivers a vocal that is a little odd….but it melds with the music wonderfully well. I love this.
Tutti Frutti—-Jaunty, jerky and damn magnificent from the very first notes!!! This has a bit of an emptier synth line at the onset, but fills out nicely by the time the vocal enters Summer delivers a intro that almost sounds disembodied…..but that is the charm of the damn thing. This is fantastic…LeRoux adds a backdrop vocal that fills out everything. This is superb. Another favorite.
People On The High Line—-With great dance floor breaks and a slight throwback synth sound, this takes shape very nicely even as it travels from one side of your brain to the other. This has a slight shuffling synth that keeps everything sounding retro but fantastically new. I love the way this plays so well even a year later….just wonderful.
Stray Dog—-Not an entirely favorite track of mine, I still never skip over this…so there must be something about it….lol. I don’t much care for the spoken word delivery of the track….but it hearkens back to those experimentation’s the band often did. There is a nice fuzzy quality to the music i rather like…..but this still plays a bit odd for me.
Academic—-This is more straight forward in the musical delivery….more of a rock song than a synth driven masterpiece….not to say this is bad…I like the propulsion…the noise of it and the way Bernard strains his voice just a bit to get that emotional quality.
Nothing But A Fool—-A bit more sedate and with an interesting almost Joy Division style guitar at the onset, this is just masterful. allowing the synth line to slowly open up, you still keep the same dark intensity of the song…and the bass line is spot on Hooky! The vocal is beautiful and classic. This swirls around your head and lands right in the center of my forehead and stays there. Not bad!!!
Unlearn This Hatred—-I really did not care for this track when I first heard it…but it has become somewhat of a slight addiction for me since then. The dance floor bass is so heavy and propulsive you have to get up and dance like hell. This may be a bit autobiographical….but none the less….this is just wonderfully fantastic.
The Game—-Moody at the onset, this track opens up as well….becoming a synth swirling jaunt that inspires stomping and dancing with wild abandon. There are nice mood shifts in the song…allowing for a frenzy and then a built in cool down. Lots going on in the underbelly of the song….just wonderful.
Superheated—-Bringing this release to a close, this is moody and swirly right at the onset….but opens up into an 80’s inspired synth fest that makes you smile and feel happy. This is a perfect tune to leave the fans with….making me so thirsty for more I almost die from thirst. This is for me, as much a masterpiece of a record as any band can make. Let’s hope we don’t wait so long for more….but I think we may have to……
****3/4 out of 5