It’s not enough for Johnny Marr to be one of the greatest guitarists of the modern era (one with a solo album bowing today in the U.K.); this March, his acclaimed foray into dance music with Bernard Sumner will be reissued. But brace yourself, fans: it’s a little weird.
Frustrated by New Order’s resistance to a more synth-based direction, Sumner began work on the Electronic by himself, but called longtime friend Marr – whose departure from The Smiths caused the band to dissolve – to collaborate. Their first single, “Getting Away with It,” a U.K. Top 20 hit in 1988, featured additional star power in the form of co-writing and vocals by Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. (Tenant and his bandmate Chris Lowe wrote album cut “Patience of a Saint” with Sumner and Marr.)
The band’s self-titled debut LP took a year to record (not counting additional time supporting Depeche Mode on their World Violation Tour) and was released by Factory Records in 1991. (Parlophone would handle all future releases, including reissues of Electronic, after Factory folded.) Sumner, Marr and Tennant collaborated again on the band’s 1992 single “Disappointed” (their biggest hit), but subsequent albums did not enjoy the same critical success. 1999’s Twisted Tenderness would be their final full-length release, with Sumner and Marr amicably moving on to other projects.
What makes this forthcoming expansion of Electronic frustrating is the haphazard nature of the bonus material on the second disc. “Disappointed,” its B-side “Idiot Country Two” and the instrumental of “Getting Away with It” are featured, but the remaining tracks are unreleased mixes or (in most cases) edits of tracks from subsequent Electronic projects. Compare that to the dozen period B-sides and remixes included on a U.K.-only, digital-only expansion of the album in 2007, and you have quite an unusual situation, indeed.
But for the curious, it’s out on March 11 in England. (Thanks to super-reader Don for the tip!) Here’s what you’ll get:
Electronic: Special Edition (EMI Catalogue (U.K.), 2013)
Disc 1: Remastered LP (originally released as Factory FACT 290 (U.K.)/Warner Bros. 26387, 1991)
- Idiot Country
- Tighten Up
- The Patience of a Saint
- Getting Away with It
- Get the Message
- Try All You Want
- Some Distant Memory
- Feel Every Beat
Disc 2: Bonus material
- Disappointed (Stephen Hague 7″ Version) (single A-side – Parlophone R-6311, 1992)
- Second to None (Edit) *
- Lean to the Inside (Edit) *
- Twisted Tenderness (Guitar/Vocal Mix) *
- Idiot Country Two (12″ Version) (B-side to “Disappointed” – Parlophone 12R-6311, 1992)
- Free Will (Edit) *
- Until the End of Time (Edit) *
- Feel Every Beat (Edit) *
- Getting Away with It (Instrumental) (CD single B-side – Factory FACD 257, 1989)
- Turning Point (Edit) (B-side to “Second Nature” – Parlophone CDR-6455, 1997)
- Visit Me (Edit) *
- Twisted Tenderness (Instrumental) *
* denotes previously unreleased edit/mix. Original versions of Tracks 2-3 were B-sides to “Feel Every Beat” (Factory, 1991). Original versions of Tracks 4 and 12 from Twisted Tenderness (Parlophone, 1999). Original version of Track 6 was a B-side to “Get the Message” (Factory, 1991). Original version of Tracks 7 and 11 from Raise the Pressure (Parlophone, 1995). Original version of Track 8 from original LP.