New Order’s ‘Plastic’ is Their Best in Years

Art and media for Music Complete. Photo Credit: New Order.
Art and media for Music Complete. Photo Credit: New Order.

New Order has released “Plastic,” the new single from the band’s forthcoming Music Complete, and it’s the group’s best song in years.

The song sounds the most like the band’s acid house/Balearic period (about 1988-1993) with some Hi-NRG and a taste of the best elements of 2001’s “Crystal.”

Singer/guitarist Bernard Sumner sounds better than he has in a long time, like he has a newfound sense of purpose as he nears 60. In many ways, the song embodies the arrangements and energy the band has had on display in their live shows in recent years. I remember their 2013 Brooklyn show with Holy Ghost! fondly.

Stephen Morris is a machine and it’s downright pleasant to have Gillian Gilbert back on the keys after her yearslong hiatus. Phil Cunningham, who’s been with the band for about a decade, does good yeoman’s work. New bassist Tom Chapman does his best show of diplomacy.

On the bass note: The absence of former/founding bassist Pete Hook is a tad obvious, though. Even on their most acid house cuts on Technique and Republic, Hook’s trademark chorused, high-octave bass leads were somewhat present. On here, though, they appear uninterested in kicking the hornets’ nest with Hookyisms. There are but a few measures that recall his classic touch. Like I said: Diplomacy?

Overall, based on the two singles released so far, I’d say that joining the iconic Mute label has marked yet another elegant reincarnation for my favorite band. I can’t wait for Music Complete: Not just so I can review it, but so that I can experience it.