New Order
Power, Corruption and Lies


4.5
superb

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
November 26th, 2011 | 21 replies | 3,654 views


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A glorious rebirth without corruption.

There’s something about New Order; a certain opaqueness to their formula that makes them so distinct; so eternally fresh; so… themselves. It may well have existed on their indifferent debut, Movement, in some stunted form, but it’s impossible to say either way as that album was swamped – swamped by its own murky, depressive slant, and by the tragedies of the not so distant past. But there was no questioning New Order circa 1983 as artists in control of their music and themselves, as sophomore effort Power, Corruption & Lies is, in the truest sense, a glorious rebirth for these 3 Manchester lads and the drummer’s girlfriend.

Musically, its leaps and bounds ahead of what came before in terms of establishing New Order as a fresh band; starkly different to the gloomy post-punk of the past in best possible way. The guitars were stripped back to accompany the melodies rather than dominate them; the percussion had switched to a mostly electronic variety, and Hook’s bass work had evolved to seamlessly blend with the new sound, adding stringent human touches to the bouncy dance-rock hybrid. Synthesisers were used more than ever, too, with punchy sequencer rhythms and invigorating waves of synth sweeping the shores like never before.

The band had just grown as artists and as people who were recovering from a personal and professional tragedy. The melodies sound fresher and more exciting than they did a couple years ago, and the group seem as though they’re much more confident in themselves, perhaps most markedly Bernard Sumner. His lyrics and vocals had evolved tenfold, reaching a certain level of artiness and opaqueness he had not managed previously. His words, sung in a slightly struggling but charming tone, found themselves belonging to him - not sounding like the poor recreation of Curtis’ lyrics that they were on Movement. The lyrics don’t give much away and retain a certain distance and cool detachment from their subject – the song titles are rarely referred to directly, if at all.

In many ways it’s this cool detachment from the norm; this opaqueness, which characterises New Order more than any run through of their technical style could hope to. New Order were a band that could churn out a mega pop single if they wished – the mighty ‘Blue Monday’, which spearheaded the album and only found itself included on the subsequent US release of Power, Corruption & Lies proved this a million times over, with its still valid record of being the best-selling 12” single of all time. But what elevates them to a higher standard is their lack of care for such records, in a sense, as it’s their unique blend of alternative rock and moody dance; their poetic and oblique lyrics; their shunning of press interviews and commercialisation (original UK copies of the album didn’t even feature the names of the band or album, instead choosing to represent such details via a block of coded colours on the corner of the cover, which could be deciphered by a key on the sleeve’s reverse), and the reflective qualities of such sentiments on the artists who ushered them which colours in their identity most.

At the end of the day it’s their self-produced music that matters the most, and on Power, Corruption & Lies New Order certainly didn’t fail. Songs like ‘586’, ‘Ultraviolence’ and ‘The Village’ remain grade-A slabs of alternative dance; the gorgeous opener and bitter closing number, which utilised familiar guitars more than the rest of the departing album, are superb, whilst the swampy ‘We All Stand’, and the achingly majestic ‘Your Silent Face’ showed that New Order could craft songs on two opposite ends of the mood spectrum, with almost equal adeptness. Power, Corruption & Lies was a huge leap forward for New Order, and remains one of the most affecting and influential alternative albums of it’s era.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DoubtGin
November 26th 2011



6684 Comments


Blue Monday is the best thing ever.


Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Hell yes. As soon as that drum beat kicks in at the start I'm gone.

Acanthus
November 26th 2011



9505 Comments


A rebirth album, those are always fun to listen to.

Digging: Flesh Field - Strain

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah. Even though i like Movement quite a bit, this is where New Order truely came into their own. Your Silent Face is probably my favourite by them.

Acanthus
November 26th 2011



9505 Comments


I'll need to give them a proper listen soon, as I love "Ceremony" to death.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Ceremony is amazing. One of the last songs Joy Division's Ian Curtis wrote. Shame we never got to hear it as a JD single or on their never to be 3rd album.

Acanthus
November 26th 2011



9505 Comments


While sad I think New Order manages quite well, it really took me by surprise when I first heard it.

bloc
November 26th 2011



34489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ROOOOOOLZ

Digging: Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead

xfearbefore
November 26th 2011



1192 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review man, classic album. 5 all day, everyday for me personally.

You can definitely hear the sound that New Order would develop on this album here on their debut Movement though, particularly "Dreams Never End". This is definitely where they developed their own distinct identity separate from Joy Division though.



Digging: Ultravox - Vienna

coneren
November 26th 2011



11110 Comments


ywH BUT lmoat the beaver XFEr

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks, guys.

tarkus
November 26th 2011



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet album, nice review, pos'd

STOP SHOUTING!
November 26th 2011



628 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice thoughtful review tom. some great songs on here.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Cheers, Tarkus and SHOUTHING!.

scissorlocked
November 26th 2011



3479 Comments


must check this

nice review man

Digging: Fantastic Mr Fox - Sketches

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks dude. Superb album this if you've never heard it - pick up a version that has Blue Monday included though - song is essential.

scissorlocked
November 26th 2011



3479 Comments


yeah, Blue monday is probably the only one I've heard from here

Low life is their only record i've heard as whole

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This is on a par with Low-Life imo, so if you digged that then this should be great.

STOP SHOUTING!
November 26th 2011



628 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

1 substance; 2 lowlife; 3 brotherhood; 4 technique; 5 power, corruption and lies; and all the rest not that good.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Substance is a bit of a cheeky choice seeing as its a comp. Brotherhood is cool but a little less remarkable than the others on the list for me. Low-Life is probably my top choice.



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