Joy Division’s Grandkids: Ceremony: A New Order Tribute & Reissues From The Other Two

Published on April 9th, 2010 in: Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Emily Carney

ceremony CD

Tony Wilson, the pretentious but well-meaning head of Factory Records (lovingly and hilariously immortalized by Steve Coogan in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People) may be no more, but it goes without saying that his legend still exists—and how could it not? This is the man who made possible such bands as Joy Division and the Happy Mondays (who were good in their heyday, really). Since his death, the bassist for the now-defunct New Order, Peter Hook, has sort of appointed himself as the ambassador of Manchester’s musical history.

On the double CD set entitled Ceremony: A New Order Tribute, he discusses Wilson’s cultural and musical legacy, appropriately backed up by some Joy Division-esque sound squiggles with sliced-up, surreal word snatches. He also name-drops the long-deceased Joy Division vocalist, Ian Curtis, relaying Curtis’ importance to Macclesfield (a city outside of Manchester); to some this may be the musical equivalent to picking worms off of a dead guy, but Peter remains tasteful and doesn’t veer off into overt dramatics (as Tony Wilson might; this is someone who referred to Curtis over and over again as a sort of “musical Che Guevara”).

The best offerings from Ceremony are the “rockier” tracks, which owe more of a debt to Joy Division than to New Order. The standouts include John Ralston’s version of “All Day Long” (off of 1986’s Brotherhood) which has a country tinge to it, and 1993’s “Regret” by Win Win Winter.

Perhaps the best—and most surprising—track from the album is Yes But No’s rendition of 1981’s “Ceremony.” The song retains the electric, hypnotic quality of the original while utilizing gorgeous, high, pure vocals. The most interesting fact about Yes But No is that they’re aged 13 and 10. I find it fantastic that the Factory legacy has stretched itself to music fans that young. It also seems appropriate, because the CD benefits The Salford Foundation, Manchester, UK (which provides grants and assistance to young people in creative ventures).

More from New Order, but not quite New Order: The Other Two were a side project from drummer Stephen Morris and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert.

the other two and you

Between 1989 and 1993, the members of New Order engaged themselves in many unique side projects. Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr (of The Smiths!) did an album under the moniker Electronic, which yielded one classic single (“Getting Away With It”). Peter Hook did S&M flavored club music under the guise of Revenge (he was also wearing an awful amount of leather around this time, for some reason).

The Other Two were, well, the other two. . . However, New Order’s versions of George Harrison and Ringo Starr had some pop music tricks of their own up their storied sleeves.

1993’s The Other Two and You, recently reissued by LTM Recordings, was one of my favorite cassette tapes (yes, I did have it on cassette) back when I was 15. The album has many great, sweet, poppy songs on it, such as “A Tasty Fish” and my personal favorite, “Moving On,” which is anchored by Gillian’s nice girlish voice (I don’t understand why they didn’t let her sing more often in New Order).

superhighways

1999’s Superhighways was harder for me to get into and has more of a reliance on guest vocalists, but has more of a “poppy” sound than the other New Order side projects—and most certainly less extraneous leather clothes.

Ceremony: A New Order Tribute is available now via 24 Hour Service Station and MVD Recordings. For more information, please check the project’s Official Site. Find out how to order The Other Two reissues at the LTM Recordings website.

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