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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 4 December 2001
Awesome. There's no other word for it. I recall
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!
All this and a baking paper cover too (don't ask).
One of my favourite albums of all time, this. It's all here: the quality of the songs, the
production, the machines and the energy.
Like I said, awesome. SO BUY IT.
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on 8 July 2006
Low-Life was where I got onboard and 21 years later I'm still a fan! From the booming drum intro this album captures New Order at the top of their game.Love Vigilantes' story of war and religion now reminds you the more things change, the more they stay the same! The Perfect Kiss is both state of the art (in 1985!) and a tribute to Ian Curtis ("My friend he took his final breath, Now I know the perfect kiss is the kiss of death").This Time Of Night is hauntingly beautiful with Peter Hook's comic spoken intro ("I'm one of the few people I know who enjoys sports on television"). Sunrise, the best rocker since their Joy Division days with an intro that DEMANDS maximum volume.

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.
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on 21 May 2006
Entranced and aching, swathed in strings and coiling bubbles of beats, jabbed with jagged lines and scratchy frustrations, a deep booming of the most innocent yet ingenious melody and amongst it all a little child lost - giggling and raging and weeping at the world.

`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.
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on 13 May 2004
Low Life is one of the few albums I can listen to in any mood. 8 incredible tracks which transcends all emotions: upbeat and fun, dark and moody, melancholy and reflective, angry and defiant. The album hits true brilliance with the instrumental Elegia, the absolute highlight of the album for me. Elegia is the type of track that induces an unrelenting assault of goose pimples down the spinal cord in what is an incredibly beautiful piece of music on a truly sublime album.
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on 22 April 2000
I'm in awe. Once again, New Order have grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and shaken me alive! I got this just last week and I've been in love with it ever since. Every track oozes sheer class, from the brooding This Time Of Night to the driving anger of Sunrise, the wistful Elegia and the upbeat finale of Face Up. The versions of Sub-culture and The Perfect Kiss that are on this aren't as good as the ones on the Substance CD (TPK's lyrics in particular lose some of their impact through the chopping-up the track suffered) but otherwise, superb stuff once again. If you're a fan and you don't have this, go get it. If you've stopped listening to it, why?
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on 8 September 2003
If you consider this was released in 1984, it is so far ahead of it's time it's scary. For many this is THE New Order record, and it's easy to see why. "Elegia" is wonderful; "The Perfect Kiss" is superb; turn the volume up at the start of track 3, and you get "I'm one of the few people that lives what's called a low life...". Then "This time of Night" starts and the world falls apart. Genious.
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on 13 October 2010
Evokes the spirit and feeling of my younger days, some great tunes which simply don't date. A timeless CD recommended for both seasoned New Order fans and newbies to the band.
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on 23 December 2002
The best new order album for me.
It's one of the most angry and disturbed albums I've heard, and it illustrates perfectly their way of singing songs about despair and hatred over a thumping discoey baseline.
The sequencing is stark and hard and sounds brilliant for it, and the lyrics are a joy.
Perfect Kiss isn't as good as the 12", but subculture is far better than the single - it's shorter, but not spoilt by the inappropriate female backing vocals. the fantastic sequencing at the refrain (?) is left untarnished by remixing.
It's an album you want to play loud on headphones in the dark when someone you love has really made you angry lol.
There's a vague similarity with the pet shop boys first album, please, in the stark keyboards and sub-culture subject matter, though of a different sort, and both groups went on to sound more refinded, still brilliant, but they were both on the cusp (?) of genius here.
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on 1 June 2013
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 and the driving (Peter) Hook lines. I'd forgotten how good this album really was and now it sounds better than ever. More than just nostalgia but still a great album (great cover too).
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on 1 August 2006
Low-Life is perhaps not New Order's best album (Technique, I think takes that accolade), but its certainly one of the best, and it is definitely their most "eighties" sounding album. It sounds "big"- big synths, big drums and big vocals (Barney attemps something approaching a falsetto on some of the tracks). The album has a lovely lush sound, too, different from the understated Power, Corruption & Lies or the rather grimy, basic sounding Brotherhood.

The opener Love Vigilantes is easily one of NO's best songs of the time, a lovely rock ballad with unusually personal lyrics. The Perfect Kiss is simply magnficent, one of the great singles of the 1980s- lush, epic, and absolutely miles ahead of its time. Sooner than You Think is slightly plodding and gloomy, but things pick up with the rocky Sunrise. The second side begins with the startlingly beautiful Elegia, an instrumental reqiuem for Ian Curtis penned by Bernard Sumner. Sooner Than You Think has some gorgeous melodic interplay between bass, guitar and synths, with lovely percussive drumming from Steve, while Subculture has a more lo-fi sound- Barney's shaky vocals married to stuttering synths and Hooky's growling bass. Its better than the OTT John Robie mix on Substance, with backing vocals and sequencers cluttering up the mix. The closer Face Up, is an odd one- Barney's giddy vocals and the hiccupy sequencers make this a peculiar way to end the album, but its typical of NO's unevenness, really. Its this unneveness (and only 8 tracks- not exactly value for money!) which stops the album being a true classic, but its definitely worth having nonetheless if you're a fan of the eighties.
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