Blackpool’s Section 25 followed in the Joy Division tradition, anchoring their songs to basso depresso vocals and upfront drums, backed by synthesizers and guitar. Though lacking that band’s intensity, they did nicely reproduce the atmosphere. The self-produced Key of Dreams presents nine examinations of paranoia and anxiety, using lurking glissandi, curious touches of Doorsish piano and Oriental philosophy. Always Now works away from imitation, giving greater emphasis to musical technique outside the parameters of rock. Producer Martin Hannett thickens the sound, bringing new body to Section 25’s work. (The package is also worth mentioning: a marbleized inner sleeve in a heavyweight top-opening bright yellow envelope.)
From the Hip takes after New Order a bit and explores two alternate paths — pastoral mood pieces featuring soothing ambient synthesizer and faint guitar, and driving electronic dance music with a light touch — both of which succeed to great effect. It’s their best album (and “Reflection” could be a hit single) — a distinguished example of where modern synthesizer music is going.