Retro – New Order

Label: Reprise

Released in the UK on 9 December and featuring a typically innovative and contentious tracklisting of Pop, Fan, Remix and Live selections by journalists Miranda Sawyer and John McReady, former Hacienda DJ Mike Pickering and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, New Order’s ‘Retro’ looks set to keep those pub arguments fresh and alive if nothing else. Everyone has their favourite and everyone always appears to align themselves with one particular order: the ‘singles’ New Order, the ’12 “’ New Order, ‘Early’ New Order, ‘Late’ New Order, ‘Live’ New Order – the list goes on. Whether it’s a testament to the band’s ability to flout convention by appealing to complex, disparate peoples or whether it’s simply a sign of their age, it’s fitting that this collection divides it’s discs as much as its fanbase: it’s cubic, it’s angular and it comes with a bloody marvellous 72 page booklet. With a witty commentary by the band on only the tracks they could be bothered talking about and an article by each of the CD compilers the booklet itself is worth half the money. Full of outstanding, rare and unseen photos it is also a fitting testimony to their lasting contribution to the visual and much as the musical in 80’s and 90’s music culture.

Likened to a clue from ‘Catchphrase’ the release’s enigmatic sleeve was designed by the legendary Peter Saville. An Eagle? A Glitterball? What the fuck is all that about? Luckily though, the format pretty well matches the brilliant and comprehensive Joy Division box-set, Heart and Soul and this is arguably the clearest explanation of the design.

As it is you get four discs that pretty much cover every eventuality of taste. You get The ‘Hits’, the classic LP tracks/B-sides, the remixes and the live tracks. And if you are lucky enough, you may just get a fifth disc of rarities including an 18 minute version of Elegia and other rarities.

Retro informs the uninitiated, and replenishes those in the know.

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Release: New Order - Retro
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Released: 20 January 2003