Picks and Pans Review: Low-Life

updated 08/12/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/12/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

New Order

To anyone accustomed to shaking their bootie to soul or disco, there is something alarming in finding groups like Depeche Mode, the Smiths and New Order on the dance charts. These British bands have pared down funk to its barest essential: beat. Their stiff and eviscerated delivery makes it a chilling experience to try to cut loose behind them—it's like dancing on a grave. But when New Order hits a groove, as they do on Sub-culture and Love Vigilantes, you go directly to the land of a thousand dances. The quartet is made up of bassist Peter Hook, keyboard player Gillian Gilbert, drummer Stephen Morris and guitarist Barney Rubble. Like his Bedrock namesake, Rubble (né Bernard Sumner) performs on a small scale but entertainingly. The group changed its name to New Order from Joy Division shortly after the suicide of singer Ian Curtis in 1980. Their music remains striking. Even This Time of Night and Sunrise drone pleasurably, and the instrumental Elegia creates a fogbound mood. New Order indeed plays with dire conviction, yet not a trace of pomposity. (Qwest)

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