Tuesday, June 5, 2018

New Order - Brotherhood

New Order's legacy lies in their singles, indeed, "Blue Monday" is still the biggest selling 12" single of all time (with "Bizarre Love Triangle" not far behind). If you want to discuss New Order, you do it through their singles or around them. "True Faith." "The Perfect Kiss." "Shellshock." They sit, stone-cold and classic, between you and any point you want to make about NO.

Interestingly, NO put "Bizarre Love Triangle" right in the middle of Brotherhood next to a mess of tracks most people have never heard of, made their "rock" record right when they were making their biggest breakthroughs as a "dance" band and didn't care because the final product was stellar enough to stand up to those self-imposed hurdles.

The rough split between a more "band" focused first side and more "electronic" second side may either sound like a confusing mistake or marketing gimmick, but it allows the band to show off the many facets of the New Order sound. This division also allows Brotherhood an intriguing arc: the turmoil of the first side makes the joy and calm of the second side feel hard-earned and meaningful.

It's the layered synthpop that's at the core of the New Order sound, and it's fairly indicative that the three standouts are the LP's most synth-dominated tunes.  Among these favorites, "Bizarre Love Triangle" is the band's best straightforward radio hit, whereas "Paradise" and "Angel Dust" rely upon immaculately crafted walls of synth highlighting the group's post-punk leanings. Among the guitar-dominated tracks, I'm fond of "Weirdo" and "As It Is When It Was", whereas "All Day Long" effectively blends the synth and guitar-dominated strategies. While Movement was a JD clone, Brotherhood is the definition of Joy Order.

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