Dream Attack

Vanishing Point < Dream Attack > The Happy One

Nothing in this world can touch the music that I heard, when I woke up this morning. It put the sun into my life, it cut my heartbeat with a knife. It was like no other morning.

Not sure what tune Bernard is referring to, but for me these words are a splendid encapsulation of my feelings on Technique. Nothing can touch it. Dream Attack closes out a near-perfect album near-perfectly.

Like All The Way, Dream Attack is another of Technique’s guitar songs, but unlike the pure rock tracks on – say – Brotherhood, Get Ready et al, the guitar tracks on Technique are not so set in their way that the electronic elements have been completely disregarded. Technique’s guitar songs embrace it and are better for it; e.g. in Dream Attack’s case using synth as the primary source of bass, the atmospheric strings, piano keys, and the choppy percussive/flute sound used for the closing melody. Crossover songs like Dream Attack, in their dovetailing of both rock and electronic, are where New Order’s stars most often align and we get closest to a true ‘New Order sound‘; bridging the dance fans with the rock fans, the football heads with the clubbers, the melancholy with the ecstatic. In their seemingly unplanned evolution, New Order have passed through many doors (in some cases that they themselves constructed): post-punk, electro, alt-rock, industrial, synth-pop, house, techno, leftfield, etc., but it’s the tracks which intersect these genres that are oftentimes New Order’s best. A quick scan shows that the vast majority of my 4½ and 5-star rated tracks exist at these crossroads. Of course when the band walks along the edge it can be exciting as well, and we fans find ourselves polarised in our opinions. It’s no wonder then that the band enjoys such a diverse fan-base and has credible longevity, and it’s no wonder that their music imbues all of us with such strong feelings. Your comments and ongoing feedback in this blog illustrate this point well – thank you.

The strummed acoustic guitar in Dream Attack works so beautifully with the lead electric guitar, particularly during the verses where it chimes and shimmers, and in the lead-in to the second verse where Hooky’s bass is in the spotlight. The only minor irritations preventing Dream Attack from ticking every box for me are in the choruses, where the song seems to ‘brake suddenly’ and we get a dose of Bernard’s double negatives; although having said that the song soon accelerates again. Indeed after the final chorus we get this little flurry of orchestra strikes (a sound much used across Technique) heralding the glorious instrumental outro; lead guitar balanced with the layered bass elements, merging into that wonderful (and exquisitely programmed – in terms of its simple notes yet unconventional meter and looping) synth melody. The long fade-out (one of the few times this is used on Technique) is very effective; giving an apropos dream-like quality to the track.

How to sum up Technique…

The Oxford Dictionary defines a masterpiece as: “a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship”. In my opinion New Order (as distinct from Joy Division) can count 2 albums in their life’s work to-date as masterpieces: Power Corruption & Lies and Technique, and I’ve come to think of them (to paraphrase Martin Hannett) as two aspects of the same thing: PC&L all dark and brooding, Technique gleaming and ecstatic… yin & yang… winter & summer… both entirely unique yet both inextricably linked in their sublimity.

Outstanding artistry? ✓ … skill? ✓ … workmanship? ✓. I would add substance and exquisite style. So by definition (and to these ears) Technique is a masterpiece, and you can bury me happy as long as the afterlife has a copy. The question is: what format do they play in Heaven / Paradise / Nirvana / Valhalla / Stovokor? Probably DAT.

Rating: xxxxi

Available on: Technique

6 thoughts on “Dream Attack

  1. Technique, Substance, Brotherhood, and PC&L…I love them all, in that order. Dream Attack is such a wonderfully subdued coda to NO’s best album.

    When I first heard this song, I remember being surprised by the rumbles — what the heck is that? But now it seems so right. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve listened to a song a hundred times. 🙂

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  2. What a way to finish their finest work .. exquisite intro, wonderful first line as long as the music that you hear is New Order, thumping beats, Hooky’s subtle bass, another track that sounds orchestral. A sublime ending to the finest 40 minutes they have produced

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  3. Hands down my favourite New Order track ever, and by that measurement, my favourite song by any band.

    What a way to finish an album, and I think this might be one of the many reasons that PC&L and Technique are held in such high esteem. Leave Me Alone and Dream Attack, being two of the band’s greatest ever tracks, end each album on such dizzying highs, leaving one with a lingering, dreamy, after-taste. Each time, drawing you into that ‘one more listen…’

    Low Life is a great album but IMHO, doesn’t leave you with the same feeling, ending as it does, with Face Up, a quirky and hummable track, but surely not one of their very best.
    Again, Brotherhood ends with a similarly quirky track and Republic finishes with IMHO, a throwaway (but pleasant) instrumental. The other albums are similar, IMHO, with the end tracks not leaving you with a lasting, memorable, impression of the album.

    You are right with PC&L and Technique being true masterpieces. When you pair these two with Unknown Pleasures and Closer you realise that this incredible band produced four of the greatest LPs ever made (and frequently listed as such in various polls) within their first seven albums.
    Not bad for five ‘oiks’ from Manchester, Salford and Macclesfield, with no formal musical training.

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  4. This is definitely my favourite track off Technique and therefore one of my favourite NO tracks. A complete song for me that has all the elements that make NO great. Programmed bass, synths,Hooky’s bass, guitars and a great outro. Sublime!

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  5. What a song. I’m revisiting Technique on the back of your project. The album kind of passed me by at the time, I was busy/distracted with my newborn and family and I didn’t think it reached the sublime height of PCL….but I was wrong. Keep up the good work – this is a fantastic archive.

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  6. One of my favourites. The outro is epic – it brings to a close one of the greatest pop music winning streaks that started with the opening notes of Joy Division’s ‘Digital’ over a decade previous.

    Big up also to the very subtle variations in drum fills at the end – one of Steve’s finest moments.

    I’d have to defend the chorus though – love Gillian’s synths underneath it and the lyrics probably best sum up the conflicted love/hate vibe running through all of the album’s lyrics. Hence the double negative.

    Great review!

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