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on October 27, 2001
I bought this album on vinyl the day it was released (September 1986), and it still remains fresh to my ears. It is relentlessly inventive, energetic, emotional, and original. And, being New Order, it's obtuse yet accessible all at once. Though it's an almost impossible decision, I might actually call this their best album, if only for sheer consistency of excellence and depth of ideas -- I've never understood why Brotherhood is usually slagged, even by the band themselves. (This is from someone who can sing from memory most New Order and Joy Division songs.) Previous reviewers are right when they say it's a more rock-oriented album than Substance -- at least side one. But to me, New Order were never anything but a rock band wrote songs that happened to be danceable, and Brotherhood keeps with the tradition of blending the electronic and acoustic that has marked every one of their albums (except, perhaps, Republic). Every track is rich, warm, and intense -- the production (by the band) is perfect, with every sound exactly as it needs to be. It's more for listening than for dancing, but it's hard not to move -- or be moved. The wistfulness, mystery, and feeling in the lyrics is both inspiring and disarming, and the music speaks just as loudly. In my opinion, this was their last truly brilliant album (the retrospectives don't count, Technique is not quite to the same level, Republic is forgettable, and Get Ready is quite good but marred by weak lyrics), and I expect to still be listening to it in another 15 years. I wish I could say the same for the side projects, which just don't have the magic for me -- they are so good as a band, and have such a distinct sound, that it's just not all there when they are working apart from each other. Brotherhood and the albums that preceded it are everlasting.
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on November 12, 2008
The MUSIC on these New Order reissues get a 5/5, easily. However, there were far too many egregious mistakes made in the creation of the discs themselves to give them a pass. Only the first discs were re-mastered though they still have some problems, it is the bonus discs that are an absolute mess.

Warner Music/Rhino know about these problems, but there is yet no word on any forthcoming fixes. So I'd hold off until these issues are addressed.

Noted below are the specific problems with the Brotherhood reissue:

1, Paradise
2, weirdo
3, As it is when it was
4, Broken promise
5, Way of life
6, Bizarre love triangle
7, All day long
8, Angel dust
9, Every little counts
10, State of the nation

Brotherhood - bonus disc
1, Bizarre love triangle (shep pettibone remix)
2, 1963 - Clicks at 0:04, 0:25, 0:28, 0:30, 0:39, 0:46, 0:55, 1:14, 1:37, 1:56, 2:03, 2:07, 2:14, 2:42, 3:07, 3:29, 3:40, 3:54, 4:25, 4:32, 4:34, 4:40, 4:55, 5:00, 5:16, and 5:25. "Stutter" at 3:36. In addition, "the track has a lot of clipping"
3, True Faith (shep pettibone remix)
4, Touched by the hand of god - Dubious sound quality, clicks, pops and digital glitches at: 0:08, 0:13, 0:15, 0:23, 0:29, 0:39, 6:53, 6:58, and 7:00.
5, Blue Monday `88
6, Evil dust - "sounds like it was recorded directly from vinyl", "crackles or some sort of skip at the start"
7, True Dub - Not what it says: plays a 1994 Tall Paul "eschreamer dubbier" remix
8, beach buggy - Not what it says: plays Blue Monday 1988 (dub version)
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on February 7, 2002
This is New Order's most experimental album, and arguably one of their best. I'm not sure why its never mentioned along with albums like PC&L's and Low-Life. This may sound unpopular, but I truly believe its superior to either of those efforts. Both side one and side two have their own distinctive yet coherent sound. I will admit that "Paradise" is not as strong as an opener as "Love Vigilantes" or even "Age of Consent", but the tracks "Weirdo" and "Way of Life" are simply lovely and upbeat pop songs. "BLT" needs no discussion. "All Day Long" has an extremely off-the-wall contrast between the music and the lyrics (which are very good-child abuse), but it doesn't end up ruining this highly uplifting piece, which resolves itself with a lengthy instrumental exchange that is one of the band's finest moments. Finally, "Every Second Counts" reminds us that while New Order is passionate about what they do, they still have a sense of humor that can coexist with all the beauty. The song begins with a Lou Reedish tempo, but concludes sounding much more like the chaotic ending of the Beatles "A Day in the Life." Personally, I think its second only to Technique.
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Don't buy "Brotherhood," for the dance rock classic "Bizarre Love Triangle." The version on this album is radically different than the one that dominated the club scene in the late 80s and early 90s (for that version, you want the album "Substance"). This is the album where New Order decided to stretch their songwriting abilities to the maximum. When the succeed, (like on the utterly amazing but truly downcast "All Day Long") the effect is mezmerizing. This is an inconsistent set of songs that has more high points than low. However, it is most definately NOT the New Order of the dance floor.
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on July 20, 2012
To each his own, but I'd seriously question the knowledge of any putative New Order fan who would tell you that there is consensus among fans that Movement is the group's weakest album, as another reviewer had posited. Movement is a dark, brooding, desperate record that resonates all these years later almost as well as Joy Division's two albums. From my experience communicating with other New Order followers over the many years, Movement is widely regarded as a vital and significant achievement. It isn't laden with "hits", and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a starting point for the uninitiated, but Movement is a tremendous album and important historical milepost.

But we're talking about Brotherhood here, which I feel is one of the group's finest contributions. In many ways it is quite a daring album. At a time when the band could have delivered a slick, commercial record, instead they assembled a collection of songs that possess a level of depth (both lyrically and sonically) that you won't always find in other areas of their repertoire. Contrast the many layers that Brotherhood has to offer with Low-Life, in my opinion truly their weakest hour, an album plagued by too many throwaway compositions and a general lack of cohesion. On Brotherhood, New Order is skillfully bridging the gap between their guitar-oriented past and synth-infused future. This album has a lot to offer and is a great starting point for new fans.
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on July 9, 2011
I ordered all five of these remasters from Amazon in July 2011. I received the 2009 corrected versions of Movement, PCL and Technique. Brotherhood and Low-Life both are the older versions with the messy second disc. I am returning those two. People say you can tell the older pressings by two external signs:

1) The older pressings have the plastic "Collectors Edition" sleeve on the outside, and the newer pressings don't.
2) The newer pressings have a second book inside with details on all five remastered albums and the older ones don't.

This is actually a little bit misleading as the "Low-Life" I received did not have the plastic sleeve and did have the second booklet. So, I assumed it was the corrected version. But the second disc is obviously the flawed version with glaring glitches and pops throughout.

Perhaps Rhino is recycling all of the defective discs that have been returned to them, hoping less informed buyers won't notice. At any rate, be wary. They should have recalled the bad copies from retailers back in 2009.
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on November 11, 2012
I put off buying all of these due to the reports of pressing errors. I eventually caved in and bought Brotherhood at a local record store. After listening and realizing that it had been a corrected version (you can check on the discs themselves), I decided to take a risk on the others and ordered them all through here. As it turns out, Amazon's stock is the replaced ones now and everything has been corrected. I can't speak for the products that other sellers on here have, but the ones I bought through Amazon are all of the fixed reissues. We all know these are worth five-stars, don't hesitate any longer.
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on June 13, 2013
At the time of its release, Low-Life was heralded as New Order's first really great pop album. While there is no debating this, ironically it is now the one in New Order's canon that seems the most dated, due to the somewhat 80s sounding keyboard work.

Brotherhood is the first album that sees them turning away from the unabashed electro-pop of their preceding albums and revisiting their roots as an indie/post-punk band. The high points here are not only some of the finest songs New Order ever recorded, but are also the most indicative of their maturity and cohesiveness as a band (just listen to them coming together like Voltron on tracks like 'Broken Promise' or 'Way Of Life'). The tunes here are so infectious that it forces you to question whether you're even hearing them correctly. From the driving groove and sublime hooks of 'Paradise', to the colorful finale of 'State Of The Nation', there isn't a dull moment to be found. Brotherhood is typically characterized as the most schizophrenic of New Order's albums. However, I've always felt that it has a dilapidated kind of splendor running through its veins (which lends a sense of thematic consistency). Herewith lies the sensual blueprint for Get Ready &Waiting for Sirens' Call (or even songs like '1979' by the Smashing Pumpkins).

"Nothing in this world can touch the music that I heard as I woke up this morning", sang an elated Sumner on Technique's closer 'Dream Attack'. Listening to Brotherhood makes one feel like that sentiment rings truer for this album.
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on May 13, 1998
Album packs a solid punch--definate departure from their earlier more Joy Division (a band most of New Order were members of in the early 80's) influenced roots. New Order makes a solid aural statement with this album, and creates what amounts to a precursor to their later (not as good) forays into techno. "Brotherhood" resonates with the same strong bass of Joy Division, only it's turned on its head and thrown into a mostly otherwise electronic track. Maybe it's something that a fan could get tired of in later recordings, but at this point in time, New Order was really polishing up its repertoire and making the most and best of a sound that is uniquely theirs.
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on August 26, 2009
These CD's have been in effect recalled for numerous sonic errors primarily on the second disks. DO NOT BUY the November 11, 2008 versions. Rhino has re-released them as of August 25, 2009. These are the corrected versions.
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