New Order: Get Ready

More than any other band born in the '80s, New Order has remained immune to the dulling effects of nostalgia. Though it grew out of a time-specific union of post-punk, new wave, and electro, the group's signature sound has reasserted and reinvented its influence over the years, as countless rock and dance acts borrowed ingredients from its elemental recipe. New Order's contextual slipperiness makes Get Ready both a regressive return to form and a progressive triumph. Taking cues from the band's earliest post-Joy Division work, Get Ready bursts with the manic energy largely absent from 1993's middling Republic, as well as bandleader Bernard Sumner's last lumbering record with Electronic. The album-opening "Crystal" rushes with driving force, pairing Sumner's oxidized guitar textures with frantic electro sizzle and the kind of four-note bass line that begs for movie-montage treatment. Elsewhere, "60 Miles An Hour" keeps the pace with a patented New Order high-neck bass hook and a gorgeous synth interlude that should sound more dated than it does. Most of Get Ready gushes with huge melodies and luscious production that gives the group's tight structures room to breathe while tastefully tipping its cap to trance. The slower tracks, including the Billy Corgan-sung "Turn My Way," the ambient-jungle-indebted "Someone Like You," and the embarrassing love song "Run Wild" achieve mixed results. But the only outright failure is "Rock The Shack," a misguided collaboration with Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, whose preening Stones-like bluster has never sounded more out of place. Not without occasionally indifferent low points, Get Ready still boasts enough Substance-grade singles to readjust New Order's currency for inflation.

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