At a period when New Order was at odds with each other. Even though they came through critically with the release of 1989’s Technique. The band decided to explore other options, meaning solo ventures. This one may be the most well known of the New Order side projects.
Electronic is the duo of New Order’s Bernard Summer and ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. The two sounds coming together and easily meld into the Madchester sound of the late 80s and early 90s. Though Johnny Marr is renowned for his guitar skills, they are conservatively used here amidst the amass of electronic programming. The final product could be compared to New Order’s follow up album Republic. The only difference being that the material here sounds more polished, less commercial and all around more engaging. A good majority of the songs sound like New Order tracks. With that typical musical chord structure on tracks like Reality, the very simple yet unusually profound lyrics on Get The Message. Even certain song titles wouldn’t be out of place on a NO record. That thought came to me just upon glancing at the back track list, where names like Soviet and Gangster sounded like classic NO one word songs (I.e. Weirdo and Ecstasy).
The Madchester sound might be most intense on the opening track Idiot Country. Where Bernard does a rap over thunderous beats and the sweet guitar licks of Johnny Marr. Now, being that this is 1991 and Marr is featured on a contemporary Synth-Pop project, you may not be surprised to find the Pet Shop Boys presence on both The Patience Of A Saint and Getting Away With It. Though they make themselves known on those two tracks their brief encounter on the record doesn’t take away from any consistency or create any distractions.
The eponymous debut clearly showcases that Summer and Marr are a dynamic duo. Even if they paint themselves into the limitations of early 90s rave. For anyone who may have been disappointed with Republic. I would point them to this record as a great stop for listening pleasure. While the 90s clichés are present, they aren’t as dull as what would be tried and exhausted in 1993.