Back with their tenth studio album, their first since 2005’s Waiting For The Siren’s Call, dance royalty New Order are back with an album that sees a return to their classic electronic pop style. Music Complete sees the group altered from its beginnings as founding bassist Peter Hook left the band in 2008. This meant a debut for Bad Lieutenant bassist, Tom Chapman, and saw a return of Gillian Gilbert, following a ten-year hiatus from the group. Despite these changes, the legendary Manchester band have been able to conjure up an album that is very much reminiscent of their previous synth pop sound.
The general sound of Music Complete represents the excellence of New Order and has a consistently upbeat dance tone throughout, the only exception being ‘Stray Dog’ which involves Iggy Pop groaning a poem over a tenacious beat. Iggy isn’t the only collaboration on this album, with La Roux’s Elly Jackson providing vocals on the euphoric ‘Tutti Frutti’ and there’s even an appearance from Brandon Flowers in the melancholic ballad ‘Superheated’. ‘Restless’ shows what might be a slight reluctance to fully immerse themselves back into dance music, its indie-pop tones jarring slightly with the rest of the album. A stand out track from this album is single ‘Plastic’, which proves to be the most enthused dance track they have created in a very long time. The seven minute track utilises synth and electronic mastery, mixed in with a typically New Order bassline even without Hook there to provide it.
The album sees the pioneers of 80’s dance return to what they’re good at; making dance music. The departure of Hook has allowed them to free up their creativity and inspired an album that is the most varied album they’ve made in years. Following his departure there were claims that New Order would be washed up; this album has proven otherwise. Despite being 30 years in, Music Complete still has the freshness and vibrancy of classic New Order.