the Message: The Best of...
whole idea of the supergroup sometimes seems oxymoronic. Often they
are neither super nor really a group, just a bunch of stars trying to
shoehorn their styles into lockstep.
Therefore it's always fascinating when one actually clicks. Electronic
seemed more unlikely than most, just because it merged talents from two of
the most individualistic and artistically innovative new wave groups – two
bands that also had very distinctive styles.
Bernard Sumner, the lead singer of New Order, was in the middle of one of
his group's periodic down periods. Smiths lead guitarist Johnny Marr
had just lived through a very messy musical divorce with singer Morrissey.
and Marr got together in 1990 as a one-off to put together the sublime
single "Getting Away With It." For this recording, they were even more
of a supergroup than their eventual regular lineup; joining Sumner and Marr
was Pet Shop Boys leader Neil Tennant, who contributed atmospheric harmony
vocals. The resulting single was nearly perfect, it still sounds
amazingly fresh sixteen years later. The song also became a surprise
smash, topping the charts in Europe and even denting the top 30 in the US.
surprise popular connection convinced Sumner and Marr to change this lark
into a legitimate side project. Electronic ended up recording three
albums periodically over the years, and while they never bettered their
amazing opening salvo, they did create some vital music.
closest they came to another hit was "Get the Message," which added jangly
guitars and gospel vocals to the template in a single which came close to
living up to the first. The band became the vessel for the principals'
experimental urges – like the rock/rap of "Feel Every Beat," the pounding
guitars and harmonica of "Vivid" and the pop of "All That I Need." (10/06)