When you realise New Order have been around for over 30 years, it seems utterly ridiculous. For some reason dance musicians seem to last longer than others types – the main reason I can think of is that its not all about ‘the look’ of the band, and instead more concentrated directly onto the music – and New Order being the pioneers that they are, fully deserve to still be current, and still creating. Music Complete is testament to this, and shows off the immensity of the change from their Joy Division roots, right through to the present day.
Restless and its childlike synths kick off the record, and before long a playful bass barges its way into the room, pulsing in and out of Sumners gentle vocals. He sings about the way today’s society is hell-bent on wanting everything immediately, with tinges of annoyance in his voice.
Academic, on the other hand, is one of the more poppy tracks, and has single written all over it. Rougher vocals liven it up and create a different sound that fits the warm presence well, allowing the fast beats to roll on freely.
New Order to like to drift back into 90s dance every now and again, and Music Complete is no different. Plastic’s build up is classic for the era, with the drum beat being held off by electronica with guile, whereas Unlearn This Hatred uses hard hitting synthed-up vocals against big beats which somehow make the rest of the track feel bare, allowing the chorus a free ride to hit hard.
One of the best is saved for last, however, in the shape of Superheated. The Killers’ front man Brandon Flowers makes a pleasant cameo in the chorus, and the surprisingly upbeat tempo is a welcome change for a closing track. This is cleverly counteracted with lyrics of heartaches and indecision, creating a feast for the ears.
Music Complete is up there with the best they’ve done in years. The record draws from throughout their career, and shows off how much they’ve influenced others. New Order are as important today as they’ve always been, and are still kings of what they’ve created.