New Order + Liam Gillick: So It Goes review – Euphoric Manchester elegy

Fri, Jul 12, 2019, 05:00

   
 

Album:
∑(No,12k,Lg,17Mif) So it Goes

Artist:
New Order + Liam Gillick

Label:
Mute

Genre:
Pop

This live recording of the band’s performance on Stage 1 of Manchester’s Old Granada Studios for the Manchester International Festival in July 2017 (aided by visual artist Liam Gillick, composer-arranger Joe Duddell, and a 12-strong synthesiser ensemble) reminds us that New Order are at their most potent when behind the synthesizer and sampler.

The results are ambitious and ultimately, joyous; a reimagining and rebuilding of much of their material from throughout their career, both the familiar and obscure.

Work such as guitar-led Who’s Joe, and Dream Attack (which come early in the record) might be the weaker end of their legacy, but when they move in to the slow-moving Ultraviolence, they have never sounded better.

By folding in Joy Division work – Decades, In a Lonely Place, and the strident, urgent Disorder – we are reminded of their DNA, and the late, great Ian Curtis, and Tony Wilson, who haunt this record.

By the time we reach the equally euphoric Bizarre Love Triangle and Plastic, it is clear that this is a particular kind of Manchester elegy, a prayer not only for the living, but the dead, their past and their future.