[sic] Magazine

Electronic – Electronic. Special Edition.

Time flies.

22 years after release, and for no particular reason, Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr ‘s debut is reissued in a new configuration with a slew of additional songs. After a cursory 1994 remastering, this 2013 edition features the original debut LP, and a second CD with a huge host of additional material. After the demise of The Smiths , the suspension of New Order , and Johnny Marr’s temporary five year excursion into The The , Electronic , who on paper seemed like a match made in heaven, were possibly the only ‘supergroup’ who actually were super. Here Sumner’s love of electronics, and Marr’s wide vista of styles and eclecticism, welded styles in a perfect union.

As far as debut records go, even though this was Sumner’s eighth, and Marr’s sixth full length record, it is confident, assured, utter genius. Aided and abetted by three songs which sees members of Pet Shop Boys onboard as well. Marr’s love of funk, choppy dance rhythms, and squalls of guitar, as well as spindly and muscular melodies shine through, whilst Sumner – irking the wrath of Morrissey – added huge slabs of his plaintive, emotionless/emotional vocals, underrated guitar work, and deft production skills. Where the record is dated is only in the occasional outbreaks of ‘Italian house piano’ (that also can be heard of the 1996 follow-up and New Order’s ‘Republic’). As it stands though, it’s a great record, with nary a dull or misplaced moment, though one of two halves as it stood just on the cusp of the entrance into the CD age where you didn’t have to flip the vinyl slab over.

Bonus tracks are a scrappy and bizarre selection of oddities from across the bands lifespan. Leftover songs, remixes, and variants from the 1996 and 1999 albums are spread across it with barely any thought for sense. The songs are given largely pointless remix edits, so material from the era that spawned the parent album (remixes of ‘Gangster’, ‘Get The Message’, ‘Feel Every Beat’, ‘Disappointed’, ‘Lucky Bag’) are absent. In their place, four previously unheard remixes of 1996 and 1999 LP tracks are added somewhat pointlessly, and three mediocre instrumental b-sides are bundled in. On the other hand, ‘Second To None’ is one of the best songs either party has ever attached their name to which is bafflingly not on the original album. Whilst the idea of a continuation of the band seems unlikely now, Electronic are a gem in the history of music you would be wise to investigate.

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