“Movement” by New Order - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1981Album Chart of the Decade: 1980s

TJR says

Within days after the death of Ian Curtis in May, 1980, the three remaining members of Joy Division made a firm resolve to carry on, even if they were very unsure of what the future may hold. Said Peter Hook: “I didn't think we stood a cat in hell's chance of getting anywher without Ian, I really didn't.” By October, the workload was lightened by the addition of a fourth member, Gillian Gilbert, the girlfriend of drummer Stephen Morris who had already filled in on guitar with Joy Division a number of times. Factory label boss Tony Wilson: “There are four or five times when Rob Gretton [the group's manager] has completely stunned me by making exactly the right decision at the right time. That [New Order] was a great choice of name but, even more importantly, it was Rob who proved instrumental in getting Gillian Gilbert into the band, who was part of the family really, rather than, say, getting a more accomplished musician in. New Order had to go back into learning mode, so she fitted in naturally; she would learn along with them and, eventually, a new sound would evolve. Brilliant… quite brilliant. Rob knew this.

The first post-Joy-Division statement was delivered on the 16th February, 1981, when John Peel aired the first New Order session, playing “Dreams Never End”, “Truth”, “Senses” and “I.C.B.” in that order, the first and last of these raising a parting glass to their late friend. By August, an impatient Peel moaned: “New Order need to get an LP or something out soon, otherwise they’ll become Old Order – signs of that already, I think.” All of the session tracks would be included on the LP which finally arrived in November. They lined-up: Bernard Sumner (25, vocals, guitars, melodica, synths), Peter Hook (25, bass, vocals), Gillian Gilbert (20, synths, guitars, spoken word) and Stephen Morris (24, drums, synths). “Guess your dreams always end” sang Ian Curtis on “Insight” from Unknown Pleasures a couple of years earlier. Somewhat beautifully and pragmatically, just as it did via the Peel session, “Dreams Never End” answers Ian as New Order's opening album statement, starring the singing bass-player, Peter Hook: “We'd just lost our singer, so that was very daunting. It's amazing how vulnerable and naked you feel singing. I realise now why people play and sing, because it's so much better. Even now, if I break a string and I lose the guitar, I really feel like my pants have fallen down.” Bernard Sumner takes over the vocals for the foreboding, feedback-laden, “Truth” and seems determined to carry on where Ian left-off, moodily. With a neat-line in super-stereo rolling-drum, “Senses” ups the tempo, which is then raised again by the rather ordinary Heaven-17-like “Chosen Time”.

Just as side one did, side two starts with a Curtis tribute, “ICB” (Ian Curtis buried): “My love falls from heaven, To talk of this strange design, Then it goes forever, Where all things never die”. It's yet another for the world's biggest ever mixtape themed around the “Be Your Dog” descending riff. The new fourpiece are on fine form here, with some proper cuckoo keyboards, the trademark drum and bass rolls, and some melodic guitar chimes, the by-product of which is that Sumner's low-in-the-mix moody vocals suddenly hold much greater appeal. Unbelievably, Hooky keeps that descending riff intact for “The Him”, but it proves to be such a mighty piece that all is quickly forgiven. Here, they continue to grieve for Ian through this post-punk hymn: “Some days you waste your life away, These times I find no words to say, A crime I once committed filled me, Too much of heaven's eyes I saw through, Only when meanings have no reason, They're taken beyond your sense of right”. As ever, you need to really lean in if you want to hear any of that. Again, chemistry dictates that sparks fly between the quartet, as they deliver a masterclass in rhythm, atmosphere and tension release. Here in one song we have a conduit linking past Joy Division with future New Order; rarely was the signpost on a journey so welcome. The boy Hook swallows a bravery pill and steps up to the mic for the second time for “Doubts Even Here”, a powerful piece dominated by a marching drum and thickly layered waves of synthesizer, all very OMD-like. Almost as if acknowledging the new cinematic era of the new romantics, Gillian makes a spoken word contribution as the song draws to a close, although there are no fake glam pretensions to be anywhere else other than Manchester. Retaining this intensity, “Denial” ups the tempo as the album closes with a chugging low-end synth, a terrific load of rhythmic guitar jangle and the reliably ace drum n bass duo. By default, the vocals and lyrics are almost irrelevant. Gilbert's introduction as a group member was seamless, but then she had played with Joy Division so that would have come as no great surprise to the diehard fans. It was a bit of an ask to replace the enigmatic one, but, all things considered, this was a brilliant first step in overcoming the great loss.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:13] 8.9.png New Order - Dreams Never End (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert) New Wave
A2 [04:37] 6.7.png New Order - Truth (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert) Post-Punk
A3 [04:45] 6.9.png New Order - Senses (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert) New Wave
A4 [04:07] 5.4.png New Order - Chosen Time (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert) New Wave
B1 [04:33] 7.4.png New Order - ICB (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert) New Wave
B2 [05:29] 9.2.png New Order - The Him (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert) Post-Punk
B3 [04:16] 8.5.png New Order - Doubts Even Here (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert) New Wave
B4 [04:20] 7.3.png New Order - Denial (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert) New Wave

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