New Order: Low-Life LP

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With the 1985 release of Low Life, New Order put forth their most commercially accessible effort to date. While some of the dark-wave drippings of their Joy Division roots are evident, high energy progressions, which would carry them for years to come, began to emerge here. Hits like "Perfect Kiss" and "Sub-Culture," with their synth hooks, club-stomping accents, and visceral lyrics, helped bridge the gap for growing synth-pop audiences who bolstered their success. Other refined techniques on the album became standard New Order conventions: sweeping analogue rolls, live and sequenced drum percussion, tight bass melodies, and edgy guitar leads. Sustained by a peerless level of emotional involvement, the vocals and lyrics further entice the listener with the obliquely nuanced style of Bernard Sumner. Standing the test of time, this release is a must-have in order to understand the origins of introspective pop-wave culture. --Lucas Hilbert

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