Electronic By Mike Pattenden
© 1999 DOT Music / Miller Freeman Entertainment Ltd
The burden of expectation can
prove overwhelming when two high profile artists join forces and such has certainly
been the case with Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner. Sumner
took a break from New Order to form Electronic with Marr
who quit the Smiths.
Sumner says, Weve never been part of any movement and
neither were our previous bands, but theres always been pressure because they were
regarded so highly. We get extra special attention and I think people ask for a bit too
The duo wrote and recorded Twisted Tenderness in 12 months and sought to restore the lost edge. The results can be heard on the first single Vivid, released on April 5, which allies powerful rock guitar and Smithsy harmonica to weighty, programmed beats, live drums and a typically deft, wistful tune.
Sumner says, Raise The Pressure didnt
hit the spot, so we felt we had to change things. A lot of the feedback we were getting
suggested that there wasnt enough of Johnnys guitar and we
had to agree he was under-utilised.
Marr says, It felt natural to plug in and write a song on the guitar again. We didnt want to spend a great deal of time on it. In the past weve used the studio as an instrument and weve written as we recorded. Theres a place for that but this time we had most of the songs ready.
They worked up the songs in their home studios before fleshing out the demos in April last year with a live band featuring former Black Grape drummer Jed Lynch and ex-Sub Sub bassist Jimmy Goodwin (now with Doves). They then went into Real World Studios between May and July, where they put down the songs with the aid of programmer and former Cameo keyboardist Merv De Peyer.
Producer Arthur Baker also came in and added his own sense of dynamics
and groove to several tracks. Although Sumner had worked with him in the
mid-Eighties on seminal New Order tracks such as Confusion
and Thieves Like Us, it was Marrs
decision to approach Baker, who is now based in the UK.
The result, he maintains, is Electronics strongest record so far. They knew what they wanted to do with the sound and theyve made a really approachable but powerful record. Johnnys guitar sounds better than ever and that makes the whole thing sound so alive. Theres a rock edge to it that Electronic havent had before. Its almost like you only had half the story before.
The sound inevitably lends itself to live performance but the duo are unsure about
whether they will tour for the first time since 1991, as Sumner intends
to record again with New Order in the summer.