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30 Years Ago: New Order Continue to Define Their Sound With ‘Brotherhood’

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After rising from the ashes of Joy Division, New Order was initially uncertain as to how to proceed, despite their commercial success. But it wasn’t until Brotherhood, which arrived on Sept. 29, 1986, that they finally came into their own.

“It was like the old getting back into writing thing after Joy Division, and finally now we’re back to how we were before he (singer Ian Curtis) died. We’re confident about everything that we do now,” bassist Peter Hook told Melody Maker. “We feel we can rely on each other, if you like. We’re still Joy Division, there’s no difference apart from the obvious one.”

Brotherhood  kicks off with the vibrant “Paradise,” with its urgent pop appeal and driving rhythm making for a great opener. “Weirdo” features the now-trademark guitar shimmer of Bernard Sumner and the driving bass of Peter Hook weaving melody throughout. “As It Is When It Was” is a beautiful and deceptively simple song, another of New Order’s calling cards.

“Broken Promise” is a full-fledged rocker with some nice fuzz guitar in the mix while “Bizarre Love Triangle” was another club smash for the band. The electro-pop tune was a huge hit on dance charts across the globe, reaching No.1 on the U.K. indie charts. Elsewhere, tracks like “Angel Dust” and “All Day Long” merge that electronic pulse with guitar-driven pop in a way perfected by New Order at the time. In a way, this was the last album of New Order’s “golden era.” By the time of the follow-up, Technique in 1989, they had fully been engulfed by acid house and the dance culture.

Though ultimately seen by die-hard fans as somewhat of a letdown following the triumphant Power, Corruption and Lies, Brotherhood did help to raise New Order’s prominence at home and abroad, making the Top 10 on the U.K. album charts, No. 1 on the Indie charts and massive airplay on U.S. college radio.

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