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New Order 

Get Ready (Reprise)

Surfacing from the tragic demise of the post-punk outfit Joy Division, New Order channeled calamity into creativity during the experimental synth-pop era of the '80s. Permanently marred after their charismatic frontman, Ian Curtis, hanged himself in 1980, the three surviving members of Joy Division (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris) enlisted the help of keyboardist Gillian Gilbert to form New Order a few months later. By its second album, Power, Corruption & Lies, the group had dropped its despondent, goth-rock roots for something more marketable and electronic. The band now sired dance pop hits like "Blue Monday" and "Bizarre Love Triangle," employing Sumner's plaintive droning vocals, Gilbert's lush synthesized textures, and Hook's unique, high-pitched bass lines. The foursome released a total of seven albums before going on hiatus in 1993 to indulge in various side projects.

Eight years later, New Order has rebounded from further chaos with its next musical derivation, Get Ready. The band has discarded its Korg-abetted club sounds in favor of a more guitar-laden methodology. Tracks like "Crystal" and "60 Miles an Hour" do tinker with subtle keyboard hooks and sly bass grooves, but they're built on grating guitar riffs and Sumner's rich vocals. The band even garners the help of rockers like the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan and Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie to help usher in the album's rock mystique. On occasion, New Order does manage a familiar sound, on songs such as "Vicious Streak," which merges the sliding bass from Joy Division's "She's Lost Control" with the synth layers of New Order's "True Faith." But overall, Get Ready isn't as innovative as New Order's electro revolution of yore. Luckily, it's still cushioned with catchy pop melodies as dearly departed from modern rock as Curtis himself.

More by Keith Gribbins


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