New Order is just one of those bands; you know what I’m sayin’?
When I was very young I was introduced to New Order through Power Corruption and Lies and, of course, the massive Blue Monday 12”. The year was 1983, and I was 12. Age Of Consent was the gateway song for me; the blending of rock and electronic elements was alien, bizarre and more than a little exciting for a young man who was still hooked on Queen and Steve Miller albums. These songs, in addition to the album, inevitably sent me on a scavenger hunt for similarly odd bands, and believe me when I say that in 1983 there were plenty to choose from.
I was insatiable in my quest and my tastes seemed to change every other month at that time. As a matter of fact I can pretty much pinpoint this period and this band and this album as the genesis of my rock snobdom. No one had ever heard about New Order (much less their prior band, Joy Division) and I introduced many a friend to this band via bootleg cassettes of PC&L. From there it just blossomed into a full fledged obsession, of course; no band was obscure enough for moi, talent be damned!
About 1985-‘86, the time of Low-Life and Brotherhood, I started losing interest. Their participation in the Pretty In Pink soundtrack sealed the deal for me. I deemed them unworthy of even the smallest percentage of my weekly music allowance. Alien Sex Fiend seemed like a more fitting and appropriate band to champion.
For 20 or so years the band waited for me to return, to rediscover the once revolutionary fusion of rock and techno that was New Orders trademark and legacy. The 2 disk reissues released a few years back piqued my interest and I purchased Power Corruption and Lies. What a remarkable record that was! About 10 years ago I tried listening to Substance, an early compilation of their singles, and it sounded very dated to me. But when I slipped this disk into the car stereo it sounded fantastically fresh and modern again. Amazing what time can do innit?
I was also very much aware of the downward spiral that New Order got themselves into in the ‘90’s by releasing a terrible football ‘anthem’ and a couple of sub-par long players. Their legacy seemed to be damaged somewhat so when a friend recommended Technique, the band’s 1989 house influenced-recorded-in-Ibiza album, I was skeptical to say the very least. Long story short I spotted the record in a bargain bin in Folsom and took the $2.99 risk. Glad I did, ‘cause it turns out that Technique is a bloody fantastic album! The thing is New Order were always a singles band above all else and their albums were spotty things, excepting PC and L and Low-Life, which are damn near perfect. And while Technique may rate third just below those two landmark recordings it overtakes them as being New Orders most enjoyable and listenable album. It’s also not as dated as most albums from this period and the blend of the organic and synthetic are as intact as they always were. This is an album I wished I would have discovered when it was first released way back in 1989, but oh well.
Better late than never.