Because writing about music – convention suggests – requires adjective. It’s as if elements of the prose – whether tight and refrained or florid and exuberant – exist to float against the bass line like the flying buttresses of a Gothic-revival church.
(This is a clumsy simile, I know, but I have a penchant for the terminology we apply to ecclesiastical architecture. And if this is to be a music blog, I could do something equally as clumsy, like cross-reference the number of times we’ve all danced, drank, draped ourselves around various naves, crypts and charnel pits, converted from original use into club or venue).
All of which doesn’t have a great deal to do with a track below the words, except for the fact that whilst scratching round for a suitable adjective, the word that flashed up appropriate is: kitsch. We’ve heard this record a thousand times or more; few would argue that it’s particularly iconic or even representative of the band concerned, but for my money it is the first New Order record that, regardless of intent or application, flaunts its devotion to the tongue-in-cheek. It’s a record – very much dance, not indie – that stripped away the band’s veneer of frosty art house pretension to reveal a sort of blokey underbelly (sorry, Gillian). Something ordinary, a little bit naff. It’s a Wizard of Oz moment – you can’t pretend to un-see when the booming voice implores you to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” (see any subsequent New Order record … or the YouTube footage of the band performing relevant tune on Top Of The Pops, where Barney in particular resembles a middle-aged comedian playing the role of a grumpy teenager in a dodgy sketch show).
Which isn’t overt criticism. I quite like this record. Bought it at the time, and it still receives the occasional airing when people pop round for tea and toast. But it appears below the words not because it’s great, but because it’s interesting, a record as transition, and whilst I won’t bore you with my own slant upon the New Order dichotomy (or even bother with what happened to their approach once the discovery of a certain letter of the alphabet is taken into account), I will suggest that you hit the play button – if only to save myself from dragging you all round to the LGM Compound for tea, toast and a compulsory session before the stereo speakers.
New Order / Fine Time