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With the 1985 release of Low Life, New Order put forth their most commercially accessible effort to date. While some of the dark-wave drippings of their Joy Division roots are evident, high-energy progressions, which would carry them for years to come, began to emerge here. Hits like "Perfect Kiss" and "Sub-Culture", with their synth hooks, club-stomping accents, and visceral lyrics, helped bridge the gap for growing synth-pop audiences who bolstered their success. Other refined techniques on the album became standard New Order conventions: sweeping analogue rolls, live and sequenced drum percussion, tight bass melodies, and edgy guitar leads. Sustained by a peerless level of emotional involvement, the vocals and lyrics further entice the listener with the obliquely nuanced style of Bernard Sumner. Standing the test of time, this release is a must-have in order to understand the origins of introspective pop-wave culture. --Lucas Hilbert
Top Customer Reviews
buying the vinyl (yes albums still came out on
plastic in them days) in Hammersmith in 1985.
From the very start - and the album version has
the tracks in a different order! - it grabs you
and pulls you in. Love Vigilantes is a sarcasm-laced anti-war song which became a live
favourite for years afterwards. This lead onto
The Perfect Kiss (not the long version on the 12")
with its enigmatic lyric and funky Latin percussion (!) and then into darker territory with
a track I've often played myself, This Time Of
Ironically, the band were to include a vocal
sample of a famous tippling magazine columist,
Jeffrey Bernard, on the track's intro as he
uttered a sentance containing the album's
title. Jeff wasn't keen so Hooky voiced it instead and he can be heard quietly speaking the
offending line right at the start just before
the drum machine starts (mind your speakers if
you turn it up to hear him!).
Side two sees some total belters, as if things
could get any better: Sunrise an explosion of
energy following Elegia which at the time was
compared to the Cocteau Twins! Yes, there's
also the deliberate use of a scratched record
sometime through the track to keep your attention!
Sooner Than You Think is another bitingly sarcastic anthem against the inanities asked of
the band by music journalists.
The final pair of tracks take us out on a high.
Subculture is apparently about the joys of sex
(follow the lyrics) and Face Up ends the opus
with a joyous chorus of "oh, I cannot bear the
thought of you!": to see and hear hundreds of
people sign this live is quite something!Read more ›
Elegia is proof that New Order really were the 80's equivalent of Pink Floyd, a wonderful, slow building instrumental that may be their finest ever track. Sooner Than You Think still baffles me lyrically but it's a great track with the guitar - bass interplay effortlessly wonderful. Sub-Culture is epic, forget the AWFUL remix,the orginal version is where it's at. An awesome bass solo by Peter Hook reminds you just how good he can be, while Barney's lyrics are sharp and sour. Face Up is the archetypal New Order track; painfully sad and wonderfully joyful at the same time.If you only own one New Order album (you shouldn't there's several more you should have!), make it Low-Life.
`Lowlife' was New Order toying with perfect pop songs and minimalist art and funny stories and deviant disco and grinding rock and grungy electro-funk and exquisite beats. It's both knowing and naïve, intricately complex yet effortlessly simple - an idiot savante lying in the gutter and inventing the stars.
Trying to encapsulate the majesty of Morricone with the primitive thrust of Iggy, the simple beauty and perfectionism of Kraftwerk with the ragged humanity and glory of Neil Young. Trying to put the past inside them and the future behind. It did all this and more, because somehow nothing quite explains where this music came from or where it belongs.
Many people won't quite get it, in fact, twenty years ago I didn't quite get it. I didn't pick up on `Love Vigilantes' poignant punchlines or brilliantly simplistic melodica solo. I somehow missed the awesome stillness of `Elegia' which builds from a fragile snowflake to an everest of ice. I overlooked the swaggering stance of `Sunrise'- a gothic spaghetti western shootout with God. I altogether ignored the glaring fact that the yearning, melancholy and menancing `This Time Of Night' is the best synth pop music ever made. Even now, even when it's possibly my favourite album of all, I still don't get it.....why I'm still singing and dreaming and wondering and buzzing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It seems the disc has no scratches, but I think it's been sandblasted. There is surface noise everywhere on the disc...Published 2 months ago by Jomarie
It's all been said before this is an essential album for your music collection the perfect mix of electronic and guitar music.Published 24 months ago by E.True
I love New Order but had forgotten about them for a while. I then heard then on an old clip on TV which regenerated my interest. Great album!Published on 7 July 2013 by Marion Parks
Few Indie albums sound good on a decent hifi but this great album really benefits from a digit clean up allowing it to be played loud to really get the benefit of the dynamic range... Read morePublished on 1 Jun. 2013 by Jeremy Pawley