At first I was hesitant about a New Order album that did not involve founding member Peter Hook’s bass playing. It seemed like without home the heart and soul of the band would be missing. Nothing could be further from the truth and in all honesty this is the iconic dance rock band’s best work since the late eighties. Filled with energy and variety the album is a great example of what the band from Manchester does best – moody songs that will still get you up on the dance floor. Some of the energy has to be attributed to the well-selected guests that are on Music Complete. Iggy Pop, Brandon Flowers of The Killers, Elly Jackson of La Roux and Tom Rowlands of Chemical Brothers are not just decorations; they contribute. The time away from the recording studio seems to have served the band well in several different ways. Returning keyboardist Gillian Gilbert brings with her that signature New Order sound. Vocalist Bernard Sumner stuns at times with his vocals. For the man who used to be laughed at for his out of tune singing his vocals here can only be classified as bang on. Though the dance is still there it seems like there is more light than darkness (dark dance music has been the band’s modus operandi since the early eighties) while still featuring impactful emotion. The result is an album that is very listenable and likeable from your first listen. This is doubly true in regards to the album’s closing track, “Superheated”. A classic pop tune buoyed by its euphoric sound.
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