CEREMONY – A New Order Tribute
Can just imagine when the word went out that a tribute album to New Order was in the offing and that bands could pick their fave tracks to cover… Like, `Let me at 'em' or what?
The result is a 32 track 2 CD set on release plus two more digital only albums, one with another 16 tracks and one that's just full of Twelve Versions of Ceremony…
The double CD set is stunning, if only for the sheer variety of music styles that have been grafted onto the New Order tracks and the fact that most of them stand up as versions in their own right, rather than cheap copies of the originals. It shows the strength of the songs which allow themselves to be smacked around via electro, rock, acoustic, indie, dance and grunge, without being murdered in the process.
It also shows the lasting infatuation with New Order's back catalogue by up and coming musicians from around the world.
The first CD opens with Hooky doing a spoken tribute to Tony Wilson, with surroundsound bites of Happy Mondays et al going off in the background…
"I first became aware of the Wilson family in 1959…by going to his father's tobacconists on Regent Rd and not realising how much impact that man would make on my life" says Hooky
"Tony was a very strange character, he could be very likeable and very dislikeable, he could annoy you so much … one of the nicest aspects of his character was that he was fearless …we were always much the better after speaking to Tony – he had this wonderful way of making the future seem to look very positive…You were very proud to have him as your mentor."
What then follows are bands that look to New Order as their music mentors. Yes But No, fronted by two sisters age 10 and 13, do a well credible cover of Ceremony, which mixes their sniding at the back of the school choir voices with some serious geetar sniping at the front. If that's them playing, be scared…be very scared!
Bands with brilliant names like Kites With Lites, Rabbit In The Moon, The Dark Esquire and Light Yourself On Fire all have go at putting their mark on New Order's back catalogue, with The Cloud Room's non dance mesmerising version of Blue Monday probably the standout.
Also worth checking out is The Dark Romantics version of Crystal which sounds like Roy Orbison whipped with Echo and The Bunnymen and the Goth in the cupboard of the IT Crowd.
Pocket (featuring Shaun Robinson and Tracy Shedd) put a new indie pop spin on Sub-Culture, while Geri X, starring with Lone Wolf, turns Turn into something uniquely torch songy special.
Jimmy Oakes does a great acoustic version of Love Vigilantes, John Ralston flips All Day Long into a classic ballad format wallpapered with shimmering guitars, The Dark Esquire's version of Temptation is exactly as you'd expect from the name, and John Parry's The Him grafts trumpets and operatics onto a Nick Cave-esque soundscape.
On Disc Two more indie rock influenced tracks come out to play including the Detachments doing The Perfect Kiss, Flight doing Your Silent Face, Kingsbury doing This Time Of Night and Allegra Gellar doing Leave Me Alone. There's also top original takes on Blue Monday from The Cloud Room and a piano led Ceremony from The Sheaks.
In contrast, Light Yourself On Fire do a hard core grunge version of Chosen Time, while XOXO unplug Every Little Counts and Jimmy Oakes uploads Bizarre Love Triangle into a higher key. Win Win Winter take Regret into the realms of the epic and The Milling Gowns do an intrepid 3am bar room version of 1963. The CD set ends with a Kites With Lites Remix of Yes But No's Ceremony, echoing its echoes of New Order.
Overall the CD set stands up on its own merits, although mining the deep vein of talent and genius that is/was New Order…
Ceremony: A New Order Tribute is out now to celebrate what would have been Tony Wilson's 60th birthday.
Further details at www.newordertribute.com
You can buy this ace compilation knowing that some of your pennies are going to the equally ace Salford Foundation.