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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

This Is Why Events Unnerve Me

New Order used to have a perfectly preserved back catalogue and legacy. They've pissed on it a bit in recent years- dodgy albums, collaborations with Scissor Sisters, bitter feuding between Bernard and Hooky, silliness, too many compilations and remixes. I don't resent them the right to continue to play and tour (I've been to see them several times since the early 2000s and loved them every time). It's just that the icy majesty they used to have has been tarnished.

Back in 1981 they regrouped following Ian Curtis' suicide and attempted to move on. Ceremony (Fac 33 Factory fans) was their debut single. In a lot of ways it's really a Joy Division song. With a Peter Saville sleeve and Martin Hannett production, using Ian's lyrics and none of the electronics or keyboards which would come to define New Order it remains a beautiful song. Deborah Curtis has said she wished they'd split for good following it's release, adding it was True Faith before she could bear to listen to them again. Amusingly Julie Burchill reviewed the single saying the lyrics were trite when compared to Joy Division. The band had to stick the JD rehearsal version through various graphic equalisers to decipher Ian's words. Two versions were released, one on March 1981 and one in September with Gillian Gilbert playing guitar. Ceremony is a great song, a JD/NO song. Later on the band would invent dance-rock. With Ceremony they're still learning to become a new band, feeling their way forward, creating something to keep them moving .

Ceremony (Alternative Version)


Echorich said...

There's a purity of intent here. No cash in, no finality. This is where these young men were meant to go with their music.
Morris, Sumner and Hook, in the end, knew that Curtis' death wasn't meant to end everything he was involved in. I doubt it had little to do with them and everything to do with himself.
New Order's musical progression, for me, felt very natural and authentic up until Republic. It's there that I think they began to stumble, but that is a pretty damn impressive run of releases and I don't choose to criticize what I don't care for on the last few albums just admit that it doesn't move me.

Swiss Adam said...

I agree echorich. I also think that up until True Faith they never made a record with any real commercial considerations. They made the records they wanted to make.