Music Complete is New Order’s 10th studio album, and for all intents and purposes, it’s the first thing they’ve recorded since 2005’s Waiting for the Sirens’ Call (2012’s long-delayed Lost Sirens was essentially a hodgepodge of Waiting outtakes). It also reflects a series of shifts within the band, created after the departure of bassist Peter Hook and reintroducing original keyboardist Gillian Gilbert back into the fold. For longtime fans, the acrimonious departure of Hook is potentially worrisome, as his melodic basslines were so integral to many of New Order’s most beloved tracks. As it turns out, they needn’t have worried too much. New bassist Tom Chapman, who formerly played with Sumner in Bad Lieutenant, creates a pretty faithful simulacrum of Hook’s signature sound both live and on record. Having largely eschewed the heavy guitars that weighed down much of their output for the past decade, New Order embrace electronics again on Music Complete, conjuring the kind of synth washes and house-y piano runs that could have easily pulsed across their records during their mid-’80s heyday, making for what is arguably the most refined record they’ve released since 1989’s Technique.
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