An ecstatic, melancholic, balearic classic!
What's all this bloody Balearic nonsense all about then eh? eh?? I hear you cry. An oft asked question. I haven't got a bloody clue, could be anything, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Technique IS Balearic. That I do know...
It's 1989. Madchester's getting into full swing. Everybody's banging on about the Mondays and the Roses...and er, the Mock Turtles. The Mondays and the Roses both release great albums, the Mock Turtles lead singers' brother gives us the genius of Alan Partridge.
But it's left to the 'old' timers to finish off the decade with a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, FOOKIN, GRRREEEAAT album! Well it'd be rude not to, seeing as how they started the decade with the epic 'Closer'.
Having had a taster of the album in the under-rated acid house classic 'Fine Time' in late '88, I'm expecting BIG things from their much publicised 6-month long Ibiza bender (though most of it was recorded when they got back...).
And on a cold, rainy February morning, a young 13 year old, who's bunked off school specially to buy it at 9am on the dot from HMV, finally gets his hands on his first new New Order LP, having listened to Substance every day for the past year. Oh the joy.
I get home, filter out the bollocking from my mum, pull the record from the purple statue thingy cover (really is the only way to describe it), put headphones on and put the needle on the record. For the next 4 or 5 hours I'm transported from a rainy, gloomy Brat'ford living room to some exotic, ecstatic, sun-kissed island paradise party (any island.Never been to Ibiza...).
Of course, with the ecstasy comes the agony...the party kicks off with the aforementioned Fine Time with Barney telling me "I've met a lot of cool chicks...but you're much too young..." (yes it is ALL Barney singing, even the 'Hooky' bit), before his marriage break-up takes over the remaining tracks on side 1: All The Way ("It don't take no Houdini, to tell me what I am"), Love Less ("I work hard, to give you all the things that you need, and you won't even talk to me"), Round & Round ("what is it you need that makes your heart bleed?") and the Spanish guitar-laden Guilty Partner ("You once said to me, that I was a cruel man...and you know I almost believed you").
It's everything I hoped for and more. That old New Order cliché; the marriage of dance, electro, rock, pop, melancholy...it's never been better, it's utter bloody perfection! I listen to side 1 a couple more times, because side 2 can't possibly match this...
"Answer me, why won't you answer me??" asks Barney as side 2 kicks off with Run. Can't talk, I'm listening Barney, I'm listening! It's getting EVEN better...and John Denver's going to the moon...we search for a lost love ("Ibiza, Majorca, and Benidorm too, I searched all those places but I never found you") Mr. Disco tells us.
It could have just finished there. But no, they wanna push us, push us over the edge; into the throbbing bass and majestic piano, into tears of joy and tears of sorrow, to buy love to sell tomorrow, to converge at the Vanishing Point, in orgasmic glory.
Dream Attack is supposed to be our ticket back home, but it begs us to stay a bit longer, pleeease. "I can't see the sense in you leaving, all I need is your love to believe in". So I listen to it all. Again. And again. And again....
So it turns out they all got ecstasy poisoning, partied separately and hated each other by then, but still managed to make the album of the decade. Best get the pills out then...Read full review