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on 8 November 2000
It's not hard to see why 'Brotherhood' is New Order's most under-rated album, it being the follow up to the exhilarating 'Low-life' as well as the pre-cursor to 'Technique', both widely regarded as their best work to date. But this album simply cannot be ignored. Setting aside the classic 'Bizarre Love Triangle' (if such a thing can be done) standout tracks include 'Paradise', 'Broken Promise' and 'Every Little Counts'.As a whole the album tries to blend a mixture of their electronic sound with acoustic guitar, thereby laying the musical & lyrical foundations for what would later culminate in 'Technique'.An ambitious album by a band known for experimenting and exploring different musical landscapes, breaking new ground in the process.
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on 8 July 2006
As a fan converted by 1985's Low-Life album I read up on the band and it was apparent they took TIME between recording. It was thus a great shock to recieve Brotherhood the very next year! I know NOW that this haste was due to Factory Records haemoraging money into The Hacienda night club but back in 1986 all I knew was there was a new album to be welcomed!

Brotherhood builds on Low-Life and adds acoustic guitar to their electronic palete to great effect.It also bosts their synth sound at it's best, the classic New Order sound never got any better than this!

Paradise is a good intro with drums ala Love Vigilantes, Weirdo swaggers along on Peter Hook's booming bass with a great solo too. As It Is When It Was is a classic, with low key acoustic guitars mingling to emotive effect with bass. The lyrics about a broken relationship probably mirror Barney's marriage problems, he blamed them squarely on a Smash Hit's article that strongly implied he was 'enjoying' himself on a US tour, his bitterness towards the press still comes out in songs written 20 years later.

Broken Promise continues the theme of betyral, it has probably Barney's best guitar solo. Way Of Life mixes rock and synths like Paradise and is notable for mimicking Love Will Tear Us Apart in it's closing chords.

Bizarre Love Triangle (the title comming from a News Of The World article)with it's heartfelt lyrics again about betyral has the finest mix of synths and bass guitar New Order ever managed, the bass solo comming in at the 'wrong' moment to incredible effect.

All Day Long tackles child abuse with simple words while the orchestrial synths are achingly beautiful and melancholic. Angel Dust antcipates the 'druggy' ambience of Technique while Every Little Counts is a humerous pastiche of Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side that ends with the sound of a needle scratching the grooves(I still recall with a grin my Dad rushing in thinking I'd ruined his record player the first time I played it!).

In the 1980's I considered Brotherhood New Order's finest moment, looking back now I would place it just below Low-Life and on a par with Technique. But WHY didn't they include the brilliant single State Of The Nation?
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on 24 June 2016
'Brotherhood', released in 1986, is the fourth album from New Order, sandwiched between the darker 'Low Life' (1985) and the more pop sounding 'Technique' (1989). Supposedly the album came out so quickly after Low Life because the Hacienda nightclub (owned by Factpry RecordS) desperately needed a cash injection, but in no way does this album feel rushed or 'stop gap'. At the time critics said Brotherhood was a concept album with the first half of the album featuring more of a rock sound than the second half's slide into dance. Personally I don't make that distinction. All ten songs are very melodic with great vocals and a mix of acoustic guitar, Peter Hook's instantly recognisable bass, and trademark synthesiser.
Brotherhood includes the band's break-out single in the USA and Australia, "Bizarre Love Triangle" which has rightly become of their anthems. One reviewer at the time stated: "This was New Order becoming New Order ". I have to agree.
I bought this CD as a 'companion piece' to Technique but quickly realised that Brotherhood is actually a better album, with consistently great songs, strong vocals, and beautiful and creative guitar elements. Also, it showed a maturity in lyrics that was not seen on previous New Order albums. The song 'All Day Long' deals with child abuse. Here are the lyrics to this great song:
"This is a song about an innocent
Who died at the hands of a desperate man
He trusted those who he thought he knew
He trusted those who he looked up to
I'll never forget the joy in his face
He'd laugh and he'd cry and he'd ruin my place
He'd drive me crazy, and he'd drive me wild
I used to scream and shout all day long

Now I hope you know this song
Is about a child who now has gone
And other children like him, too
Abused and used by what adults do
So don't tell me about politics
Or all the problems of our economics
When you can't look after what you can't own
You scream and shout all day long"

Bernard Sumner sings with passion and showed an emotional side to the band, perhaps for the first time. I am so glad I finally bought Brotherhood on CD. It is a real pleasure listening to it. I had forgotten just how good it really is.
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on 10 July 2005
Well, yes it does really!
1986 was a tough year for New Order. The Hacienda, their beloved nightclub interest in Manchester, was losing money hand over fist. They were obliged to keep gigging and releasing records in order to keep both Factory Records and the club afloat.
The musical climate was changing too: the synth revolution had began to lose momentum as the guitar backlash gathered steam, the Order's Mancunian contemporaries The Smiths sweeping all before them both commercially and critically.
Brotherhood's predecessor Low Life took a lot of beating and Brotherhood struggled slightly in its shadow but tracks like Paradise, with Barney's insistent chorus vocal, and the stunning Bizarre Love Triangle go a long way to ensure it's not seen as an also-ran album. Indeed, BLT is the only track they regularly do live from this album, although there are several other contenders.
The album is divided sharply between 'electronic' songs and 'acoustic' songs (their definitions at the time), As It Is When It Was being the highlight of the latter, with its minimal opening setting up for some fierce vocal menace later: "The streets are so empty at this time of night/I'd rather walk on my own by right..." sings Barney and you understand he's not a man to be trifled with.
Side two, the "electronic" side, features All Day Long, a song that dares to comment on child abuse and Angel Dust, a song about drug use (AD being a name for PCP), the two songs not being up to par writing-wise. As fas as I know they've never been played live.
Wrapping things up on the final track is Every Second Counts. With its slight resemblance to Lou Reed's classic NYC sleaze-fest Walk On The Wild Side (NO claim they had no idea it sounded similar although no-one believed them at the time, they being Reed/Velvets fans through and through!), the song builds and builds, Sumner cracking up at just how poor the lyric was he'd written for it, resulting in him giggling and muttering a few lines off-mike.
The construction of the song is impeccable, with Gillian Gilbert's sequencing superb throughout. The curtain comes down on the album as the notes merge into a giant drone, a huge wall of noise which is then curtailed by the sound of someone becoming irritated by the vast cacophany, violently removing the needle from the groove (good old days of vinyl!), quickly followed by a short burst of an ancient song...and that's your lot!
Between the career highs of Low Life and Technique, Brotherhood stands up as an underated album but is a solid document in any case.
Ps the cover design is from a flightcase panel.
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on 15 December 2015
Popular folklore would have it that this was cobbled together to raise money to save the Hacienda and Factory. Well, if it was, then it is even more of a work of genius. Wrongly in the shadow of 'Low Life' and 'Technique', 'Brotherhood' is crammed with New Order's best songwriter. Plus, it is the LP where Bernard Sumner really sounds like he is a confident vocalist. There has been a lot of nonsense written about how one half is rock and the other electronic. To be honest, you'd be hard pressed to tell because it is a seamless blend of everything they do so well.
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on 30 July 2012
So good to hear this again. I'm really glad I now own it on CD - the limited edition casette format was totally worn out, and very difficult to file away. In fact I might send it back to the person I borrowed it from in 1987. I'm through with it now I've gone digital.
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 8 February 2003
but one I love all the same.
Brotherhood came out in 1986, following the release of the patchy Shellshock & State of the Nation singles (& the second Peel Sessions ep). I don't think it's as great as Low Life, or career best Technique; it's probably more of a 3star album, but emotional attachments make me give it a higher rating.
It roughly breaks down as one side guitar-based & other side more synthetic- though opener Paradise is more electronic than rock. This is an odd song- certainly beating Depeche Mode & U2 to the blend of electronica & guitars both bands would be doing in a few years. It also seems to reference Dolly Parton's Jolene; the synth pulse & Hook's bass-sound make it a must.
The following four tracks are guitar-based, Weirdo is slightly lacklustre- not quite as poor as Bunnymen material of the following year but a definte example of Sumner's sometimes poor vocals. As it is When it Was reminds me of 1984's Lonesome Tonight, probably one of the most traditional NO-songs; when I heard this I was mortified- was this the great electronic band New Order? Broken Promise is a standout track, as the previous year's Sunrise it is the closest NO had come to the classic Joy Division sound. The final track from the guitar-side is Way of Life, which opens with Atmosphere/In a Lonely Place drums before breaking into something lighter (I think 1989's Guilty Partner does this much better).
The second side opens with Bizarre Love Triangle, which along with Thieves Like Us, True Faith & Temptation is one of the greatest NO-singles. It's a contender for one of the best pop songs ever, even the extended Shep Pettibone mix that sounds like Stevie Wonder's I Just Called to Say I Love You. There's a reason why Douglas Coupland namechecked this in Girlfriend in a Coma. All Day Long is probably the weakest track on the album, sounding like an OMD track from Junk Culture- an example of the sometimes pedestrian nature of New Order. Angel Dust is much better, a dirtier take on the territory of Confusion & Perfect Kiss- this sounds like electro filtered through Joy Division's Komakino. Great stuff. Final track Every Little Counts begins a little like Atmosphere, but has more in common with Lou Reed with it's couplet "I think you are a pig/you should be in a zoo" & some laughter- reminding you of NO's hilarious performance of Blue Monday on TOTP a few years before (Barney cracks up).
Pity that there are no bonus tracks- though State/Shame of the Nation was a major dud, perhaps 87's vintage True Faith, 1963 & Touched By the Hand of God (or Salvation! tracks like Skullcrusher & Let's Go) could have been added to this release. Certainly not the greatest album ever- Aha's Scoundrel Days & Depeche Mode's Black Celebration were much more electronic- but it does that Proustian thing, so is a must purchase.
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on 25 November 2015
This is simply the best New Order album, bursting with energy and great songs but massively underrated. Best know track is Bizarre Love Triangle but they are all very very good As It Was When It Was is superb.
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on 17 September 2011
i never tire of this ,or anything by new order. each full length release is as great as can be. this is a vital , goosebumping, hair- raising, monumental achievement. listen all you want. it never ever is anything but pure magic
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on 13 August 2015
again another New Order album that i've purchased that can't be ripped to itunes because of some cheeky copy protection thing...( see also New Order - The Singles ) ...nothing wrong with the album itself but irritating....
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