Friday, 2 November 2012

Desert Island Discs 103 - Lowlife by New Order

103 - Lowlife by New Order 1985

New Order almost didn't make the list as by far their best lp is the compilation of their 12" singles Substance. However, I remembered the reverential way me and my friends gathered in someone's bedroom to listen to the new lp. The sleeve was a thing of beauty, the stark photos (featured as the band were badgered to become more accessible) the tracing paper cover sleeve , the complete lack of words. As a result we all stared intently at the record player speaker trying to find clues.

With New order the clues were always impossible or easy to find depending on your view as Barney Sumner's stream of consciousness lyrics could switch from the profound to the ridiculous in the space of a line

We'd had a preview with the single Perfect Kiss and the first shock was that a version was on the lp as at the time New Order lps were single free

Supposedly about the death of Ian Curtis (but as usual with the lyrics who could tell)this was no Atmosphere this was a full on dancefloor celebration " Pretending not to see the Gun I Said Lets go out and have some fun".

This is the lp where they got the mix of indie guitar and dance music spot on , creating a template that 100s would try to copy.

The lp is bookended by 2 of the great singles that never were , Face Up and the ultimate indie ,cowboy dance song!

Love Vigilantes - New Order

Better was to come with the next single

"These crazy words of mine so wrong they could be right"

As ever the vocals are all over the place but I'd take this fragility and vulnerability over technical perfection any day

You can buy Lowlife here


  1. Synchronicity...

    My #103 - New Order - Low Life (1985)

    - Fine review. I can't add much except that I prefer the "Best Of" collection over Substance 'coz it includes Love Vigilantes which is indispensible...

  2. Without a doubt my favorite New Order album and the one that put the most distance for the band from the shadows of Joy Division. Power Corruption and Lies was a great record, but looking back, for me, it isn't as relatable now as then. Low-Life is so well realized. Tracks like Sunrise and Eligia are soundtracks to an unwritten film. Sub-Culture is in your face dancefloor bliss - likely their first MDMA fueled creation and is my favorite track on the album and possibly of their entire catalogue. I love John Robie's reviled remixes as well!

  3. Hi echo think you are right ll has aged much better than pcl mainly i think because it became the template for so many other dance/indie cross over bands

    Tim - that is a tad scary

  4. it's a fabulous LP.....and watch out for a wee post on Love Vigilantes on TVV in a couple of weeks was written for the other day until I realised it was Halloween and something more appropriate was required!

    Still think that Technique is their best LP though.

  5. I have to hold my hands up and admit that the only New Order studio album I've heard is 'Power corruption and lies'and the only album I own is last years 'Total' which contains both Joy Division and New Order tracks. A great singles band and I know I have to listen to more of their stuff.
    My #103 Yazoo - Upstairs at erics. A marriage made in heaven!

  6. Hi Jim - it was an amazing run of lowlife , brotherhood and technique.

    Hi Phil - I've a confession in that I've never hears the lp just the singles - my favourite yazoo track is Nobodys diary


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