Album review: New ORder, Live At Bestival 2012

New Order perform on stage. Picture: PA
New Order perform on stage. Picture: PA
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“’Ello” welcomes Bernard “Barney” Sumner at the start of this, only the third live recording his band have released in their 33-year existence. “Guess who we are. We are New Order. Obviously.”

New Order

Live At Bestival 2012

Sunday Best, £13.99

Star rating: * * *

His eager-to-interact chatter’s kind of endearing, but it’s also the biggest negative amidst 13 songs from a group whose music at its best cultivated a distinctive sonic identity like few others, requiring no commentary.

Recorded at Rob da Bank’s Bestival and released on his Sunday Best label, this album’s proceeds will go to the Isle of Wight Youth Trust, based on the island where Bestival is held.

It’s anything but a freebie offcut in aid of a good cause, though. Those who have experienced New Order of late will know that the return of keyboard player Gillian Gilbert alongside Sumner and her drummer husband Stephen Morris in 2011 after a decade’s absence has reinvigorated the group, even as bassist Peter Hook has long since confirmed a seemingly acrimonious departure. As the misty-eyed instrumental Elegia bleeds into the cheerily familiar clang of Regret, the overriding thought is that this is a band back in the groove of sleek 1980s synthesiser sophistication.

Tom Chapman’s deep, thick basslines are crucially the double of Hook’s, and Gilbert’s playing really does make all the difference, restoring a characteristic shine to classic tracks such as Bizarre Love Triangle, Blue Monday and Temptation.

This is music performed with charming exuberance and faithfulness to the originals, although the semi-digital retooling of old Joy Division tracks Isolation, Transmission and Love Will Tear Us Apart as festival anthems doesn’t proceed quite so smoothly.

Download this: Bizarre Love Triangle, Blue Monday