New Order’s new album, “Get Ready,” is refreshingly reminiscent of the “Velvet Goldmine” soundtrack. It undulates smooth rhythms, soft, techno-esque music and carefree lyrics while simultaneously screaming of the pop-idolatry of the ’60s and ’70s.
New Order is made, in part, of members from Joy Division, a band that started in 1976 in Manchester, England. Joy Division’s debut, “Unknown Pleasures,” immediately distinguished the band and they soon established a strong cult following.
Ian Curtis, the band’s vocalist, grabbed much of their attention with his darkly original look onstage, but by 1979, his performances began to end in epileptic seizures and blackouts. The band went infamously down in history when he hung himself on the eve of their first American tour in 1980.
Joy Division’s bassist Peter Hook and guitarist Bernard Sumner, along with newcomers Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, went on to form New Order. Sumner took over for Curtis as the vocalist. You may remember this somewhat newer band from their hits “Blue Monday” and “True Faith.”
“Get Ready” boldly brings the band into the new century with songs like “Crystal” and “60 Miles an Hour.” The first begins the compilation with slow vocal lines and techno rhythms, and then quickly morphs into Iggy Pop-like sounds ? to be expected from New Order. Although the song is all together happy and acceptable, the back-up vocals add a rather ugly dimension to its presence.
“60 Miles” is even better than the first single. Sumner’s teenage-like voice brings nostalgia to this poppy, lyrically idealistic song.
Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan sings mellow back-up vocals in “Turn My Way,” where his unique voice is easily recognizable and enjoyable. The lyrics, in their disdain of everyday necessities and responsibilities, remind me of the beginning lines of the movie, “Trainspotting.”
Songs like “Primitive Notion” and “Rock the Shack” are comfortably exciting, and represent the sound of the CD as a whole. They begin with fast-paced guitar riffs and soon after mix with Hook’s dream-like bass lines. Sumner’s lyrics are usually predictable, but seem to stem from simple, childlike truths.
“Get Ready” is nothing to swoon over, but would be the perfect background to a casual party. It’s a fun album for all those who are interested in the remnants of glam rock, and especially for those left over Joy Division fans.
Though it could never come close to Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust,” the new album does contain some of its wonderfully eccentric appeal, as displayed by the androgynous figure on the cover of the CD.
Schaefer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.