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New Order - Music Complete album review (published in Metro, Sep 2015)

NEW ORDER
MUSIC COMPLETE (Mute)
**** out of 5

The headline around New Order's tenth album is that Peter Hook is gone. It ought to be that Gillian Gilbert is back. The bearded bassist may historically have been the band's most extrovert member, but the most vital element has always been their unassuming keyboardist, who rejoins after extended maternity leave. Fans of Hook's lofty, looming basslines shouldn't worry: replacement Tom Chapman approximates them capably. Bernard Sumner's autumnal angst (“I feel like a setting sun” being a typical line) and Stephen Morris' relentless rhythms are present and correct. They're joined by La Roux's Elly Jackson on three tracks and The Killers' Brandon Flowers on one, while Iggy Pop's charismatic monologue on “Stray Dog” almost steals the show. If the handful of guitar-led tracks - “The Game”, “Academic”, “Restless” – are New Order by numbers, then the synth-dominated, turbo-charged techno-pop of “Plastic”, “Unlearn This Hatred”, “People On The High Line” and “Singularity” comfortably compensate, making this the most satisfying New Order album in 22 years.

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