Movement is the first hesitant step in the transition from Joy Division to New Order. Despite a relatively assured debut single ("Ceremony," which didn't even appear on the album), the first New Order album revealed a band apparently caught up in mourning for its former lead singer. (But of course, themes of loss and isolation were hardly novel for them.) Movement encompassed songs written just after the suicide of Ian Curtis, and it was recorded with alternating vocal spots to see whose would fit best -- although neither Peter Hook nor Bernard Sumner sounded worthy of the mantle. (At times, their hesitancy makes it sound as if they were recording guide vocals for a Joy Division LP, expecting Ian Curtis to come in later.) Despite the band's opaque lyrics, critics and fans were spotting references to Curtis all over the record, with despair and confusion reigning especially on "Senses" ("No reason ever was given") and "ICB" ("It's so far away, and it's closing in"). More so than on any Joy Division record, it also revealed a group unafraid to experiment relentlessly in the studio until it had emerged with something unique. Spurred on by producer Martin Hannett, despite his antagonistic relationship with the band (and perhaps, because of it), New Order produced a ghostly, brittle record, occasionally uptempo but never upbeat, with drum machines rattling and echoing over dark waves of synthesizers and Hook's basswork. A masterpiece in the career of any other post-punk band, Movement only paled in comparison to the band's later work.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush