New Order The Radio One Sessions Review

Compilation. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

They crossed the fields by wrecking the hedges.

Cormac Heron 2004

Ah the interweb is a glorious thing. It is a big giant coffee shop for all people to meet and chat about the things they like most whether it be guns, flowers or music. Last year fans of New Order started an online petition to have the BBC sessions recorded during the years of 1998 and 2001 released. Now -lo and behold! -look at what Strange Fruit are bringing out.

New Order are seen as a band of their own genre. There is a sense of belligerence about them, a sense of imbalance which seems to make them stand all the more strong and definite. Having succeeded the shadow of the mammoth ''Blue Monday'' 12" twirly and the too often under-celebrated Joy Division the whole history of the band could be personified as members of a family: Joy Division as the angry delicate uncle and New Order as the cool cousin setting the trend of a generation. That being the case then In Session is a home movie of the cousin having entered adulthood.

The disc opens capturing a session recorded for John Peel in 1998. ''True Faith'' throws down the gauntlet in many ways for New Order. A classic pop song which would be at home in a rock venue or club. ''Isolation'' blasts along with industrial severity and ''Touched'' crosses the genres again but with oriental twinges (they were never a band to be categororised neatly). ''Atmosphere'' slows the pace down though not the intensity and ''Paradise'' finishes off the first session with Peter Hook nailing some serious bass lines that only he could get away with.

''Slow Jam'' kicks off the second half. This is taken from a Steve Lamacq session recorded in 1991. The band is now three years older but the attitude is still there. ''Your Silent Face'' has a beautiful relevence about it. A timeless classic which can surpass the connotations of the sounds that make it. ''Close Range'' brings the tempo back up to rocking form which is followed by an all out ''Rock The Shack'' with none other than Mr. Bobby Gillespie on backing vocals. Bernard Sumner is really on form here with his rocking riffs which complete the audio section In Session.

Next up is the home movie I must have been referring to earlier. In 2002 a special party was thrown for John Peel having been 40 years at the BBC. A filmed performance of ''Transmission'' was beamed in as a special treat for the man who launched a thousand careers, Joy Division / New Order included. The bonus item on this release is a movie of that broadcast which is now made public for the first time. 'If you hadn't've played our record all those years ago we wouldn't be here today,' Sumner states meekly, and he's correct. In fact I am sure that, had it not been for John Peel, many bands would never have formed (Joy Division / New Order possibly included).

It is great to see the metronomic power of Stephen Morris on the kit and one thing I never knew about Hooky is how he gets his sound by strumming octaves on that low slung bass of his. It's not just a chorus pedal you know? New Order were doing it! Dance music with guitars. They crossed the fields by wrecking the hedges. They refused point blank to be one or another and, coming from dark electronic pop tunes to bright electric perfect poptunes, they looked like they were on a mission to defy everyone. This is apparent all over the recordings that make up In Session. Maybe for the more avid fan but nonetheless a great thing to have.

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