Top positive review
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their best album, but they deserve better than this
on 25 September 2008
Technique", meanwhile, is possibly the finest single New Order album there is. It straddles, effortlessly, the gulf between euphoric/melancholic guitar-disco in a way that thrillingly combines the possibility of man and drum machine in perfect harmony, as well as moving towards some of the bands more traditional group work. It kicks off with the All Guns Blazing, definitive balaeric beat of "Fine Time", if nothing, a daft, silly, brilliant song about sex, complete with rampant drums, overloaded kitchen sink bleeps and bloops, random guitar swipes, and a general air of hands-in-the-air craziness. It makes perfect sense at 4am in 1989, and it makes sense now. The other thirty five minutes are equally exciting : a particularly English blend of joy and joy division, with material that offers consistently excellent song writing and immaculate production, as well as far outstripping almost every other act of the time in terms of imagination, innovation, and independence. Side two operates at a high point, with "Vanishing Point", "Mr Disco", and the glorious prog-rock snippet of "Run" that forms a cohesive, definitive New order album, ,demonstrating their work at the height of their abilities. If you own nothing else of theirs, start here.
The bonus disc, true to form with the rest of the set, fails to satisfy the knowledgable fans of the band. Despite canvassing fan opinion, the finished product appears to ignore completely any suggestions. Despite several live shows from their career being prepared for release and on the cusp of inclusion, "Technique" again features a selection of meandering instrumental bsides, stodgy remixes, and absolutely nothing of interest to anyone who bought the records when they came out. Even well known unreleased track "The Happy One"is omitted. In addition, the re-recorded, remixed, and extended "Round & Round" is presented not in the New Order 12" mix, but a generic house mix from Kevin Sanderson that is dated and a bit boring. This reissue features "World In Motion" (but not the alternate recording of "The B Side", which takes a parody of football to laughably brilliant levels), and yet another pointless remix that demonstrates the moment when New Order started farming out their material to `contemporary' remixers who produced generic one-size-fits-all club nonsense when they couldn't be bothered anymore. About the only truly great rarity on the disc is the "Making Out Mix" of "Vanishing Point" which takes the great song into the realms of a musical, instrumental journey with new parts, ideas, and variations that takes its cue from the large amount of out-takes from the "Technique" sessions the band reworked into television soundtrack material.
At one point the perfect combination of euphoric techno-pop, the other side of "Technique" is an effective melancholy : in many way, this vibrancy is matched with the knowledge of the hangover, the morning after, the inevitable fall of what has risen, which in many ways sums up the joyous disappointment that is human experience and these New Order reissues in a nutshell. Unlike the previous Joy Division reissues that added to the legacy by expanding the known universe with unheard recordings, these reissues fail to satisfy the dedicated or knowledgable fan of the band by presenting an ineffective, and seemingly randomly ordered collection of B-sides from the time, with no previously unheard gems. it's the sound of brilliant music and also an open goal, a missed opportunity, a wilful failure to take the care and attention music this important deserves. The music is brilliant, the extra tracks are random and appallingly sequenced without reason, consistency, or narrative, and with no real reason to buy them if you were there at the time. New Order deserved better than this.