Picks and Pans Review: Technique
If ever an album provided an excuse for buying an expensive stereo outfit, it's New Order's fifth U.S. release. Brimming with multilayered electronic effects that zip from speaker to speaker and set a whole room vibrating, Technique takes dance music to impressive levels of refinement. The album bears an appropriate title since careful technique sets this British quartet far above other club music bands (the Pet Shop Boys, for one) that get by on attitude instead of talent. Synthesizer virtuoso Gillian Gilbert has enough tricks in his keyboard to carry each song on his own, and singer-guitarist Bernard Sumner's lyrics are a few notches above the "boogie, oogie, woogie, oogie" school of dance refrains. Even though his droned musings on love and life get repetitive in both delivery and content, the accompaniment keeps the music fresh. New Order formed out of the remains of Joy Division, a gloomy British band that folded when its leader committed suicide in 1980. Now these musicians have drifted across the musical spectrum as born-again good-time guys who can purvey snappy party music with the best of them. Add a few neon lights and sweaty bodies to the sound of Technique, and any living room can start to jump like Disco Central. (Qwest/Warner)
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