New Order - Movement (Vinyl)

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Movement is the debut studio album by English (Manchester, big difference) band New Order, released on 13 November 1981 by Factory Records. At the time of its release, the album was not particularly well-received by critics or audiences, only peaking at number thirty on the UK Album Chart, However, retrospective critical reception has been very positive.It now gets placed on lists of the "Best Albums of the 1980s", saying it "exists almost exactly in between Joy Division’s post-punk broodiness and the synth-pop style that would come to define New Order and influence pop music for decades".
After the suicide of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in May 1980, and the subsequent shock for those surrounding him, remaining members Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris elected to carry on, albeit under a new name – New Order. With the exception of two songs, "Ceremony" (first played live at Joy Division's very last gig, a little over two weeks before Curtis's death) and "In a Lonely Place" (unreleased, but demoed in the studio), all the material played would be new.
The producer of the album was once again Martin Hannett, who had worked with them as Joy Division; however, the rapport between producer and band had in the ensuing time eroded. Hannett was in a legal dispute with Factory Records and suffering from substance (Heroin) and alcohol abuse, and the band members—themselves still coming to terms with having to write and arrange songs without Curtis's ear and lyric-writing ability—found him uncooperative. It would be the last time they worked together.


Movement is one of those albums that belongs in that category of 'phoenix from the ashes' type records. Here we have the surviving members of post-punk pioneers Joy Division (post Ian Curtis's suicide), recruiting the girlfriend of their drummer to play keyboards and morph into a new band, New Order. Of course when you start a new band from the ashes of an old one, it's very hard not to be compared to your previous work. In this sense, Movement is an intriguing album, especially considering the electronic direction that New Order went in once they had forged their own musical identity. This however is a whole lot different to that.

It's easy to think while listening to this album that there is a massive hangover for the band from their years of being Joy Division. This is evident in songs such as "Truth", a downtempo song where Bernard Sumner decides to ape the vocals of his deceased bandmate. The lyrics here are regarding loneliness and isolation, and it just becomes too easy to make those Joy Division comparisons. However, there are a lot of moments here that also show that New Order are also all about making progress. "Senses" uses electronic drums bringing an interesting industrial feel to the song and "Chosen Time" is almost certainly the song that indicates where the band would go next, the main hook being electronic. They make no secret of looking to the past here though, as references to Ian Curtis cloud this album as Sumner makes many laments to the lost of an old friend.

Other than that Movement is business as usual, solid post punk with some electronic influences. However, there is an outstanding moment which singles aside is New Order's first truly great song. "The Him" is quite frankly brilliant. Stephen Morris (who excels the most out of any New Order member here) drums brilliantly, with haunting synths and Bernard Sumner's emotional and weary vocals about the loss of Ian Curtis, ending in "I'm so tired, I'm so tired" bringing a sense of dramatic closure to proceedings and closing the book on that part of their career. In the end Movement may well have been a less edgy version of the third Joy Division album. But what it definitely is is the classic example of a transitional album and showing that the band could progress without their iconic lead singer.

By: Mouzone.

A1 Dreams Never End
A2 Truth
A3 Senses
A4 Chosen Time
B2 The Him
B3 Doubts Even Here
B4 Denial

1 x LP Reissue on Warner Records.