Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quarter Century Review: Low-Life

New Order
Produced by New Order

In 1983, New Order chose to go in a new direction, departing from producer Martin Hannett. Whereas Hannett's mix of having the bass and drums in the forefront and the guitar just laying atmosphere worked in adding to the doom and dire attitude of Joy Division's records, New Order's music (despite some of the lyrical content) was far cheerier. And with their first self-produced album Power, Corruption & Lies, the band had finally freed themselves musically of the spectre of Ian Curtis.

As for the songs themselves, they no longer bore any resemblence to Joy Division either (unless you count that Peter Hook's basslines were still the driving force of the band). This was also the first time (for New Order or Joy Division) to include planned singles on an album ("The Perfect Kiss," and "Sub-Culture,"). Low-Life, for me, succeeds greatest with the album's bookend tracks "Love Vigilantes," and "Face Up,". The mix is very bright without being glossy. The results of their complete transformation into synth-pop is on display here and they do not disappoint. However, at being albeit just under an 8 out of 10, this album does not rank with classic status.

Overall Grade = 7.99

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