New Order Vinyl, CD & tapes by New Order at Norman Records
Emerging out of the ashes of the ill-fated Joy Division, New Order have forged a lengthy and entirely separate career that certainly went way past them being treated as a postscript to their earlier band.
Although early New Order records mined a similar dark and atmospheric path as Joy Division, by the mid 80s they had forged a new identity by taking on board notable dance influences. Their first real breakthrough was with Power, Corruption and Lies - their 1985 album which finally saw them separate themselves fully from their past. Lowlife and Brotherhood soon expanded their dance rock template, before they went to Ibiza to record their masterpiece Technique. The album added acid house and balearic influences to their patented sound and was full of elegiac but uplifting songs, with bassist Peter Hook's muscular but melodic playing a prominent force.
It was hard to imagine back in 1988 that this would be the high water mark of their career and subsequent albums would decline markedly in quality. The band had periods of inactivity throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and subsequent reformations were notable more for their joyous celebratory live shows than any new music that emerged. The internal squabbling that fractured the band during this era reached a head in 2011, when Hook left the band for good. Their 2015 album Music Complete (their first without Hook) was well-received by critics and fans, but in truth the band were just a pale imitation of their former selves. Internal rancour can sometimes elevate a band's output, but in New Order's case it led instead to a tarnishing and the brilliant, groundbreaking records they made earlier in their careers seems like music from another era now.