Pasa Tem­pos Mu­sic by New Or­der; and Ralph Vaughan Wil­liams and James MacMil­lan

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - — Robert Ker

Records) It’s now been 35 years since New Or­der shed its Joy Di­vi­sion roots, help­ing usher in the 1980s and the en­tire genre of dance rock — and the band sounds as youth­ful and spry as ever. Part of that may come down to the de­par­ture of bassist Peter Hook, who helped pro­vide so much of the group’s sig­na­ture sound but whose grumpi­ness be­came a drag on the band’s over­all mind-set. It’s true that a lot of the bass lines on Mu­sic Com­plete don’t sound like vin­tage New Or­der, but if the re­sults are as joy­ful as this, then it’s a fair trade. Maybe New Or­der even got a bit ov­er­en­thu­si­as­tic; this al­bum, its first in a decade, runs a bit long. The highs, how­ever, reach or­bit. This is noth­ing new — New Or­der has al­ways been a sin­gles band rather than an al­bum band — but what may be sur­pris­ing is how fresh it all sounds. The rhythms dis­till decades of club cul­ture into in­fec­tious jams that of­ten stretch past the five-minute mark. Songs such as “Peo­ple on the High Line” and “Sin­gu­lar­ity” boast hooks that re­lent­lessly weaken all re­sis­tance, de­spite some goofy lyrics. Some of the sounds feel dated, but they’re just tools to the band. Dance rock en­joyed a nice re­vival in the 2000s, but New Or­der re­mains among the very best, in large part be­cause it has un­der­stood the ex­pres­sive power of dance mu­sic bet­ter than just about ev­ery­one.

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