For their third superstar Electronic collaboration, Bernard Sumner (New Order) and Johnny Marr (ex-Smiths) press a little heavier into the chunky side of late-'80s guitar pop and come up with the strongest excuse yet for their electro-moonlighting. "Twisted Tenderness" is that, indeed, with the signature sweetness of Sumner's disaffected tenor finding unlikely potency in the dizzying swirl of Marr's guitar dementia.
"Make It Happen" booms with its resignation to the imminent iniquities in love's process, pul-ling away only for its anthemic confession of "I hope you understand/ I am a fraction/ I am a broken man," to jarring effect. In "Vivid," the harmonica goads Sumner into a revery of "Why do you cry/ You're not to blame/ When will you change/ This sad refrain."
It all makes for a worthwhile teen-age escape, as Sumner and Marr choose to glorify - rather than forget - the sort of music they've been getting away with all their lives.