Angel Dust

All Day Long < Angel Dust > Every Little Counts

Cacophonous beast of a track this.

Angel Dust is one of the less accessible tracks on Brotherhood, and I can sense the in-studio debates about its inclusion on the album or use as a B-side; but I’m glad it is there (on the LP) because its the antithesis of Bizarre Love Triangle: a raucous, discordant, and industrial number – riddled with gunshots, distortion, brash piano, thrash guitar, wailing Middle Easternesque vocal samples, and drum machine programming that switches from simplistic (and near-raw) to powerful – with reverbed & phasing tom rolls and rimshots. The synth sounds and sequences are textbook 1986, and seem to take one last look back to the influence of Baker and Robie in their sound and structure. A modern electro remix of Angel Dust would be a cool candidate…

Angel Dust is a really interesting track that shows – contrary to popular opinion – that New Order hadn’t sailed completely into the high seas of commercialism, and were still open to just going for it in the studio. The track’s evil twin, issued only on the gloriously limited edition True Faith CDV* and licensed to (the great American tape label) ROIR and later the Funky Alternatives compilations, opens the door a little wider so we can take in the fuller vocal samples**, a re-mix that isolates the sequences, and some additional motifs and sounds that offer up Evil Dust as a useful alternative take.

The lyrics are typically obtuse, and I’m still trying to figure out if its a tale of vampiric love, and Bernard has gone all gothic on us. Perhaps someone can tell me who is the ‘Master of Bourgeois’, ‘whose life became illusion’? Answers on a virtual postcard please.


* You have to love and admire Factory’s willingness to brave media formats that were destined for obscurity (easy to say in hindsight), including Beta video, CDV (as distinct from VCD) and DAT.

** I’ve sometimes wondered if Factory’s single release by Fadela was of any influence here? It would have been about the same time…

Rating: xxxio

Available on: Brotherhood

3 thoughts on “Angel Dust

  1. I have a hard time with the term “commercialism” here. It has quite a negative connotation. I have never felt that New Order ever came close. I mean, the art of New Order, where dance music is concerned, was to reflect, and contribute to, what was happening on dance floors, production wise, while continuing to use their own rather out-of-left-field lyricism, coming up with records that the dance world, and DJ’s, could really sink thier teeth into. (Their “rock” songs fairly did the same, as I see it.) I don’t feel that we can accuse them of “commercialism” …. their ART was never made for the purpose of selling records … that, of course, can be a secondary HOPE for an Artist, as one does need to make a living. just sayin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree with you mate.

      My commercialism comment was most definitely tongue in cheek, and is probably a reaction to those who feel that their early years were better and the middle/latter years were too pop; as is the case with so many fans of bands with a long history. I’ve also been thoughtful of Hooky’s comments in his book where he thinks the band (or more specifically Bernard) had one eye on the commercial prize, which I think is a bit bollocks when you look at the vast majority of the bands output during this period which remains firmly independent, artful and alternative.

      New Order were *never* MOR.


      1. AND, perhaps they COULD have paid more attention to the money making, considering how badly things turned out by the end of the decade, where money is concerned. sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s