New Order



by IAJP USER (42 Reviews)
July 15th, 2010 | 15 replies

Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: New Order kick off their career with an angry brash effort, honouring Ian Curtis in the process.

The story of Manchester music is one that is entwined with that of New Order, a band whose entire existence in 1981 hinged on the release of a successful debut studio album. The band had recently been forced into existence due to the sad suicide of former Joy Division singer, Ian Curtis, and as such, they had a lot to prove on their first studio album.

Did they do it" Well, Movement is definitely an album that is without a doubt a transitional one. A combination of the well known Joy Division post punk sound, with the emerging influence of Donna Summer and the New York disco sound. A combination that at first baffled and annoyed fans of Joy Division, but a sound that a lot of them grew to love.

Firstly, it must be stated that the courage and integrity that Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris had to undertake a new musical project, so shortly after the suicide of their friend and band mate, Ian Curtis, is a test and proof of character in itself, a show of defiance in the face of incredibly adversity. Yet bizarrely, some people have anger towards the New Order sound, based solely on the fact that they weren’t Joy Division. And why the hell should they be" The main priority of New Order would be to press on, honouring Ian Curtis’ memory by writing music that their band would probably have done and a sound they would have eventually evolved into anyway.

Context and grievances aside, Movement is a fascinating debut album. One that is so embarrassingly well packaged, and aesthetically pleasing that it puts almost every other release to shame, apart from that of course, by New Order themselves. Musically it is, as mentioned, a heady blend of post punk and electronica, a precursor to a style of music that would be retroactively labeled new wave. The album opens positively enough, with the band blasting into Dreams Never End, a song which manages to uplift the gloomy vocals just enough so as to give the band themselves hope.

All hope is cut short though, as Truth, Senses, and Chosen Time rumble over the speakers, bringing with them a wash of uncertainty, gloom, and fog, all of which is underpinned by the typically atmospheric production from studio ace, Martin Hannett. Standouts are Chosen Time and Denial, which bubble and explode with an exciting new energy, one that is reminiscent of Unknown Pleasures.

Throughout the album there seems to be an unavoidable stench of gloom, depression and death, factors which usually make for unlistenable music, but in this case the sound is a cathartic one, and a truly humane and forgivable one. The band’s history is of joint importance to their sound, and if truth be told, it is intrinsic to enjoying, empathising, and understanding it.

The ghost of Ian Curtis hangs heavy throughout, his vocals appearing in bursts from new vocalist, Sumner. Tracks I.C.B., and The Him especially conjure up his irrepressible scowl and baritone boom, and although this may in theory sound cheap, it is not deliberate, or even offensive, rather just a young singer attempting to find his own style and trying one that worked for a good friend.

This album is much more than just a celebration or a closure of events past though. It is a stark message, a reminder, to Joy Division fans. They won’t be forsaken, there is a new band on the block, and this new band are going to go on to release some of the most successful, popular and enduring music of all time. This is where it all starts.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
July 15th 2010


You might want to break this up into paragraphs

July 15th 2010


Album Rating: 4.5

SHI. done on ms word. tar mayne.

July 15th 2010


Album Rating: 4.5

thanks man...serves me right for pasting directly from word, did this when my internet was not working, and not in the sputnik browser, hence it looking ugly as sin originally..cheers for the heads up.

July 15th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

Wasn't overly impressed with this debut, but I still haven't gotten to their other work so I don't know how it all compares to the dark Joy Division days.

July 15th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

such a great band (especially lowlife and substance) and so much better than Joy Division.

maybe due to the influence of gillian gilbert?

July 16th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

this album never did it for me like i had hoped or expected before acquiring it. the faked voice is a bit much. thankfully they found a new sound. maybe better than their original band and certainly more diverse.

October 2nd 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome review, pos'd. "Dreams Never End" is one of my favorite NO tracks, and this album remains one of my very favorite of their entire discography. Proof positive that Manchester was the place to be in the early 1980s musically.

Digging: Pale Saints - The Comforts of Madness

February 26th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

To me this album is very sad, they just lost a good friend, and Bernard and Peter are trying to imitate Ian, that must have been a little hard.

March 25th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5


November 28th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

This sounds like a poor man's Joy Division

June 10th 2015


I love the mention of 'hope' in the review. It's probably the word that best encapsulates what I feel when I listen to NO.

This was the beginning of something special.

May 4th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

This album has a really weird mix, it's like every instrument is in the distance.

November 22nd 2018


Album Rating: 5.0

I think this is my favorite album ever

Digging: Existe - Vivre et Laisser Mourir

November 22nd 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

Technique blows this out the water

November 22nd 2018


Album Rating: 5.0

They aren't really comparable. And I just reaaaaaally like this album

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