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John Peel Sessions,the CD, Import
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NEW ORDER The John Peel Sessions (2000 UK 8-track CD the first four songs were initially released on the Peel Sessions EP on Strange Fruit this edition includes the brilliant Turn The Heater On which has not been released anywhere else; picture sleeve with sleeve notes by Peter Huxley of Uncut Magazine SFRSCD095)
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Now the last track has to be the greatest. The version of 586 on these sessions is quite different from the more poppy anthem it later became. While vocally inferior to the album version, the heavy synths and other instrumental components are amazing and to me this track has by far the best replay value! Personally I like both 586 versions better than "Blue Monday". Its worth the admission price all by itself, but all the tracks, including this one, make an odd, yet somehow beautiful blend of sounds that is undeniably irristable if you're really looking for something different than the stuff on the radio today.
It may not be a necessity, but I certainly recommend it for any well-versed New Order fan. Whether out of curiosity or a longing to go back to the old New Order and Joy Division days, this album should provide more than its money's worth of entertainment.
The recording quality is excellent. The Peel sessions were something between the studio and a live show. Tracks were recorded in Peel's studios for broadcast later, giving them tape quality with live performance dynamics. This is the strength of these discs.
From the first few seconds of the cold, electronic thumping of Truth, the somber, blue cover art begins to make even more sense. I'm too young to remember this early incarnation of New Order, but today it appears like they were doing a pretty admirable job of regrouping after Ian Curtis' death spelled the end of Joy Division. On this release they're respectfully closing the door on that band with solemn vocals and cool musical trappings while dipping into the electronic beats and energy of what would characterize New Order's sound in the 80s.
The disc clocks in at under 40 minutes, and it's a real treat from end to end. Some of the songs are from the first New Order album proper, Movement. For Dreams Never End, the cooly catchy single, Peter Hook does the vocal duties. A couple of tracks are very rare, including a version of Turn the Heater On, a reggae tune(!) that the band manage to completely pull off. The version of 586 here is excellent as well, way different than the Power, Corruption, Lies version and the separate Video 586 disc.
This is also an excellent counterpoint to the other New Order BBC disc available that features excerpts from the 1987 tour which was plagued by technical difficulties and a drunken Bernie Sumner fudging the vocals. This Peel Sessions release has all of the quiet determination of young band and is highly recommended for new and old fans.
The first session is from early 1981, and contains tracks that would eventually appear on 'Movement' ('Truth', 'Senses', 'ICB', 'Dreams Never End'). All the cuts are excellent, and in my opinion are superior to the claustrophobic album versions. Martin Hannett really made a hash of 'Movement' with that flat, suffocating production, whereas here the songs feel more organic and direct. In particular, 'Senses' was a song I never really liked, but sounds fantastic here, while 'ICB' is clearly better off without all those annoying bleeps and squeaks.
The second session is from 1982, when the band were beginning to move away from their Joy Division roots, and toward the electronic style the characterised their mid 80's work. The clear highlights here include a haunting reggae/goth cover of 'Turn The Heater On', and a skeletal bass-heavy version of '5-8-6', which again is better than the version on 'PCL'. Rounding out the session is a fair enough take on `We All Stand', plus a bonus for dedicated fans in the song `Too Late', which was never released or performed elsewhere.
As I've said in other reviews, the sheer number of compilation albums New Order have released can make you cynical about buying yet another one, but this is an excellent collection that provides interesting and unique takes on several early songs. Not essential, but worthwhile if you can get your hands on it.