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The greatest double-LP of all time?
on 7 January 2005
This superlative double album deserves to be mentioned alongside the likes of Highway 61 Revisited, Sergeant Pepper and so on. It may be a compilation album, but the range and quality of material is astounding, from the sombre beauty of Ceremony, the eerie psychedelia of Everything's Gone Green (one of NO's most underrated tracks), all the way through to True Faith, one of the most perfect pop singles ever recorded. The fact that some NO fans may carp at the reworkings of Temptation, Confusion and Subculture, (which are all fabulous, by the way) and so-called lesser tracks such as Shellshock and State of the Nation, only goes to show what high standards New Order had set themselves by the mid-eighties. The first disc is incontestable proof that, as a singles band, New Order are were (and are) simply untouchable.
The second disc, containing the corresponding B-sides, is fantastic too -although not as immediately gratifying as the first, you'll find yourself soming back to it more and more to get a different "take" on the A-Sides. Furthermore, it contains gems such as 1963 and Procession, which could quite easily have been singles in their own right.
A final note to all NO diehards out there: if you want the definitive version of Substance, try and get your hand on the cassette version, which contains extra tracks: the fragile beauty Mesh, as well the corking re-mixes Dubvulture, Shellcock and the mighty Shep Pettibone mix, Bizarre Dub Triangle. I know cassettes are crap, but you'll have a hard time finding these tracks otherwise!