Monday, February 1, 2010

Album Review: New Order – Movement

New Order’s first album, released in 1981 after the abrupt end of Joy Division, tends not to be mentioned much when New Order are discussed. It provides a kind of bridge between the two bands, as it was also produced by Martin Hannett. The shadow of their former band weighs heavy on this album.

The first track, Dreams Never End, is kind of a natural progression from Joy Division in that keyboards dominated more and more, and the drums sounded ever more mechanical. The tune is a dead ringer for The Cure’s In Between Days (released years later). Truth is quite austere, along the lines of some of the Closer material, slightly reminiscent of Decades, although on this and most of the other material on this album, the vocals, handled mainly by Bernard Sumner are a little muffled and subdued. It was obviously difficult for him to take over vocal duties from Ian Curtis who was such a distinctive vocalist.

Senses, sounds very much like it had been created entirely using synthesisers and is an interesting precursor to Blue Monday, while Chosen Time is a little non-descript. The second half of the album sounds haunted by the ghost of Curtis, but this is by no means a bad thing. ICB (Ian Curtis Buried maybe?) is a fine song, driven by Peter Hook’s bass, strong drumming from Stephen Morris and some fine guitar from Sumner, and is very danceable yet remaining a good song!

The Him is a doomy dirge which plods along with some ominous keyboards but is unremarkable, and Doubts Even Here is a similar exercise, though far better. It’s probably the most Joy Division-like song on the album, with wintry keyboards and downbeat bass, and very Curtis-like lyrics (‘day begins, collapsing without warning’), while final track Denial is all clattering keyboards and drums.
It’s easy to see why this album is not well regarded by New Order fans as it is a little derivative of their former band, they hadn’t really evolved into what they became. Nonetheless it’s a good collection of songs, in that doomy early ‘80s vein.