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Twisted Tenderness

Twisted Tenderness

4.5 2
by Electronic
When the duo of New Order's Bernard Sumner and the Smiths' Johnny Marr made their first album a decade ago, Electronic seemed like a one-off project. Twisted Tenderness, originally released in Britain in 1999, is their third album and -- here's the surprising part -- far and away


When the duo of New Order's Bernard Sumner and the Smiths' Johnny Marr made their first album a decade ago, Electronic seemed like a one-off project. Twisted Tenderness, originally released in Britain in 1999, is their third album and -- here's the surprising part -- far and away their best. Sumner's reunion with early New Order producer Arthur Baker turns out to be a great move, and Marr's guitar playing hasn't been this inventive and muscular since "How Soon Is Now?" Given Sumner's big-beat experiments and Baker's dance-music résumé, it's curious that they've made such a rampaging guitar-rock record, but it's produced like great disco: Its songs leap out of the speakers, riding grooves driven by Marr's sure-handed strum for five or six or seven minutes at a time. And legendarily casual lyricist Sumner has made a breakthrough in craft and openness -- these are his most emotionally raw lyrics ever (an almost unrecognizable cover of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" is the album's conceptual centerpiece), and he sings them with a graceful conviction that's new to him. Wonderful.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - MacKenzie Wilson
Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner have a unique musical companionship. Both artists bred the '80s British music scene into pop candy delight thanks to Marr's charming guitar hooks while fronting the Smiths, and Sumner, whose ingenuous lyrical poetry pushed New Order's dance-oriented sound into the new wave mainstream. But since their musical collaboration began back in 1991, the duo continues to make music for themselves, uninhibited by current norms and marketing success. Twisted Tenderness, the band's third album, is certainly a vast improvement over their sophomore effort, 1996's Raise the Pressure. Twisted Tenderness steps back into Marr's talented guitar work: carefree, a bit rollicking at times, but in classic Electronic fashion. The obvious rock-laden riffs carry the typical synth-generated backdrops, and Sumner's cheeky lyrics are stylish and breezy. Sumner, who experienced writer's block during the mid-'90s and resorted to Prozac to break his creative blindness, isn't exquisitely sharp or wholly impressive when it comes to being a songwriter. He's simple, and that's what makes Electronic and his work with his original band so alluring. But it's Marr's maddening style that carries things along. Songs like "Late at Night" and "Breakdown" fiercely showcase his spiraling guitar loops, not overshadowing Sumner's storybook visions of love, deceit, passion, and desire. And what makes Twisted Tenderness so vibrant is how Electronic placated their lushness for more of a moody demeanor, mysteriously similar to the likes of U2's electric distortion found on 1997's Pop. "Make It Happen" is nearly an eight-minute sonic bombast of churning basslines and swirling techno beats, and Marr's layering is raucous. He is so underrated as a master player, but outlets like Electronic and his new band the Healers make it easy for him to fully deliver his great skills. "Haze" showcases Sumner's snarling sauciness, which comes out occasionally, and is darkly wistful. But that's what New Order/Smiths fans are looking for. Electronic don't have to prove that they can write decent pop songs. Their musical brashness is expected, and Twisted Tenderness is their best yet. Marr and Sumner have already laid down the gravel in their previous musical lives -- Electronic is just an extra treat.

Product Details

Release Date:
Koch Records


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Electronic   Primary Artist
Johnny Marr   Bass
Mac Quayle   Keyboards
Phil Spalding   Bass
Bernard Sumner   Bass,Vocals
Merv De Peyer   Keyboards
Ged Lynch   Percussion,Drums
Jimmi Goodwin   Bass,Background Vocals
Astrid Williamson   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Arthur Baker   Producer
Electronic   Producer
Darren Allison   Engineer
Mac Quayle   Programming
Merv De Peyer   Programming
Fridge   Sound Effects,beats
James Spencer   Engineer
George DelGiorno   Redesign

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Twisted Tenderness 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's taken over two years for Twisted Tenderness to come to America, but it's finally here. This 2-disk set collects the album and the remixes and b-sides spawned by it. It's a great value. It took me at least $50 to accumulate these tracks when they were released individually. TT is rockier and less electronic than Electronic's other two great albums, but it's still good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, record executives have decided to release this terrific CD stateside! If you were a bit disappointed in Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr's sophomore effort 'Raise the Pressure', then you were not alone. Don't, however, let that influence you when considering the purchase of 'Twisted Tenderness'. This is, without a doubt, Electronic's best effort and should easily rank as one of the top 10 CD's of the year. Bernard Sumner cooly works through a set of lyrics that harkens back to the days of New Order and Johnny Marr has finally re-captured the guitar work that made The Smiths one of the greatest bands of the 80's. Almost identical to the import version (the stateside version includes two additional tracks), 'Twisted Tenderness' is upbeat and edgy from start to finish. If there is a low-point on the CD, it might be the remake of Blind Faith's 'Can't Find My Way Home'. It is a bit unusual but, by no means, does it detract from the rest of this incredible collection of new songs. If you were patient enough to wait for the release of 'Twisted Tenderness' in the U.S., you must add this to your collection.