This New Order article was written by Lucas Jones, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Nick Roseblade
After the untimely death of Ian Curtis, the remaining members of Joy Division faced a dilemma, to continue or disband and go their separate ways. They opted to continue, but under a new semi-ironic name, thus New Order was born.
Movement is very much an album with a band struggling to transition and define an identity. Sounding like the third Joy Division album that never was, the dulcet tones of Curtis have been replaced by the alternating vocals of Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner to see who would fit best as the lead vocalist in the newly formed New Order – Sumner ultimately won out, but it was the start of a rivalry which has turned toxic in recent years.
The gloomy themes and melancholic instrumentals are a world away from the euphoric new wave that would define New Order on later records. Movement is essentially a post-punk record with an undercurrent of experimentation, but as the album progresses, each track feels like a band growing more confident in their sound
The album starts off rather underwhelming with “Dreams Never End”, it sounds dated and feels like a rehashing of “Ceremony” – released a fortnight after Curtis’s death – which unfortunately does not make it onto the album. “Truth” has a real artificial feel to it, like a band discovering electronic music for the first time, unsure what they want to achieve. However, once the guitars kick in, it is a completely different and much more interesting song. “Senses” and the highlight of the album “Denial” are much more self-assured in their electronic experimentation. “Senses” is largely instrumental, relying on digital and synthetic sounds that bring a menacing quality to it. “Denial” has an exciting new energy around it, effortlessly merging synths, robotic drums and hard-hitting guitars.
Movement often feels like a mismatched musical journey by a band torn between wanting to remain rooted in their past of post-rock and going full blown electronica. In the early 80s, music was going through a transition of its own, similar to New Order, punk and post-rock were beginning to become usurped by synthpop and new wave, it mirrors the decision New Order had to make – remain rooted in post-rock or go electronic.
At times Movement often feels like an uneven musical journey, inconsistent in places. There are no real stand out tracks akin to “Unknown Pleasures” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” before it and “Blue Monday” and “Temptation” after it. Movement only pales in comparison to past and future output.