New Order, Music Complete - album review

Download: Nothing But a Fool; Unlearn This Hatred; People on the High Line

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The Independent Culture

On the band’s first studio album since the departure of Peter Hook, New Order don’t attempt to replace his characteristic lead basslines, but shift instead towards a more general electronic orientation.

It’s most effectively realised in tracks produced by Tom Rowlands, especially “Unlearn This Hatred”, a twitchy electro strut infectious enough to help one overlook the ragbag of clichés that passes for its lyric. A similar over-reliance on the familiar infects “Plastic”, a pulsing footnote to “I Feel Love”; and more agreeably “People on the High Line”, which approximates the propulsive guitar and bass interplay of Chic.

But mostly, the album comprises a series of scuttling bleepscapes lent individual character by unorthodox instrumental detail. The standout is “Nothing But a Fool”, which develops genuine depth from its lean openings of acoustic guitar arpeggios and drone textures.