May 5, 2005

Test Spin: New Order

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New Order’s ’80s neo-electornica anthems helped shape the new wave movement and guide the dance songs of the ’90s. Lead singer Bernard Sumner’s emotive voice working against a calculated and nihilistically upbeat band gave off a push-pull effect as catchy as Zeppelin’s slow drums working against lightning-quick guitar riffs. Unfortunately, their newest effort sounds like a fan’s worst fears come true: a Spinal Tap-like decline in sound, appeal and originality. Each track delves further into over-the-hill decay, terrible songwriting and quite possibly, a 12-piece soundtrack for elevators worldwide. What was always appealing about New Order and Joy Division was dark music that remained not depressing to the listener. Here, we have warm, upbeat tunes that would make any fan bipolar. “I Told You So” starts out with a beat that could’ve been written by a three-year-old, a monkey or a three-year-old monkey. New Order joins a group of British burnouts whose hopes of revitalization are unjustified in their inability to keep up with the times.

Archived article by Dan Cohen
Sun Staff Writer