Get Ready (2001)
If there was ever a logic to the tortuous career of New Order then it was a perverse one. When Ian Curtis' suicide left the remaining members of Joy Division twiddling their thumbs on the eve of a breakthrough American tour, it should have been all over. When 1993's luke-warmly received 'Republic' coincided with New Order's near-mythical Haçienda night-club haemorrhaging money and the band losing the will to live, it should have been all over again.
Of course it isn't, and once more a strange sequence of tragedies has put New Order back on the right track. Long-standing manager Rob Gretton died in 1998 and the Haçienda has finally closed its doors. If the band were seeking 'closure', surely this was God's way of offering them a dignified way out. For Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, however, this was a strangely interpreted cue to get busy.
They may have been apart for eight years, but less than a minute into opening track, 'Crystal', they've slotted back into their own idiosyncratic groove and the years are pouring off them. It's sleek, it's menacing, it hasn't got a chorus and consequently it's about as neat a summary of their 20-year career as you could hope for.
There are few bands that have the natural panache to mix the intuitively brilliant and the heroically clueless quite like New Order. Still in the throes of that first teenage love affair that miraculously lasted forever, Bernard Sumner's lyrics are still blessed with a naive - and totally punk rock - wonder: "I don't wanna be like other people are", he tells us on 'Turn My Way', "Don't wanna own a key, don't wanna wash my car".
It's that sense of idiot joy which colours the whole of 'Get Ready'. Being in New Order never sounded like half as much fun as it does here, and bringing in Billy Corgan to beef things up and Bobby Gillespie to ruin the uncharacteristically duff 'Rock The Shack' only serves to underline that point.
"I don't want the world to change, I like the way it is", announces Sumner on 'Slow Jam', summing up another effortless triumph in his usual understated manner. "Just give me one more wish, I can't get enough of this". Sure enough, their world hasn't changed. In their eight-year hiatus they've learned no new tricks save that what they do best, they do best together.
Best not to wonder why they do what they do, then. Better just to sit back and enjoy. They're bringing you a love that's true. Get ready, 'cos here they come.
Source: Jim Wirth (New Musical Express)