As an unabashed New Order fan being able to write about them is not only a great personal and professional thrill, it constantly reminds me that first and foremost I’m an obsessive fan — and it’s my experiences as an obsessive fan, rushing off to buy CDs and tapes as a teenager and buying tickets to countless shows that have informed my writing and this site. In any case, as you may already know, in the 35 years or so since Ian Curtis‘ death and their quick formation as New Order, more than enough ink has been spilled on their work; however, what I will say is that the Manchester, UK-based band may arguably be one of the most critically applauded and beloved New Wave acts of the 1980s — thanks in part to their eventual seamless meshing of electronic dance music and post-punk, which quickly became their signature sound. Certainly, for anyone, who grew up in the 80s, New Order should bring about immediate feelings of nostalgia.
Music Complete, which was released last year marked two miles for the band and its history — as it was the band’s first effort through renowned indie label Mute Records and the first album without co-founding member Peter Hook, who left the band several years ago. So in some way, the album captures a band in a variety of transitions. Whereas the album’s first single “Restless” was a breezy and subtly modern refinement of their familiar and beloved sound, the album’s second and latest single, “Plastic” was like a refinement of their synth-based sound as it pairs Sumner’s lilting vocals singing lyrics that are stingingly accusatory with layers of pulsating synths reminiscent of Donna Summer‘s “I Feel Love” and Kraftwerk‘s “Trans Europe Express,” to craft what may be the album’s most club-friendly songs. The album’s latest single “Singularity” manages to mesh their early sound with their synth-based sound in a way that feels absolutely organic and fitting — angular guitars, four-on-the-floor drumming and Sumner’s lilting and mournful vocals with shimmering and undulating synths to create a song that’s anthemic and arena rock friendly, while being club-ready. It’s a familiar and beloved sound that’s gently modernized.
Edited by Damian Hale, who is responsible for the band’s visuals seen during their stage shows, the recently released music video for the song features a wild collage of visuals taken from B-Movie, the story of Mark Reeder‘s life in West Berlin during the late 70s and early 80s. The footage captures a city and country that’s divided by the Berlin Wall while revealing not just an inter-cultural zone in which everything and anything seemed possible but something much more universal, especially for contemporary viewers — that everywhere people are struggling to take control of their bodies, their lives and their world by any means possible. And beneath the seriousness of riots and political demonstration, people out and about hooking up, dreaming, partying. In these Berliners, we should see something of ourselves.
New Order will be in the States for a series of dates in March — and it includes a NYC area date. Check out the tour dates and their festival dates across Europe below.
US LIVE DATES
March 10 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall (on sale 2/13)
March 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Tower Theater
March 16 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
March 19 – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Auditorium
March 21 – Las Vegas, NV – The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan
March 23 – Miami, FL – Fillmore Miami Beach
June 18 – Spain – Sonar
June 30 – Belgium – Werchter Festival
July 2 – Denmark – Roskilde Festival
July 7 – Spain – Bilbao BBK Live
July 9 – UK – Manchester Castlefield Bowl
August 12 – Norway – Oya Festival