The latest release by seminal indie/dance act New Order is more than likely the last material the band will release with former bassist Peter Hook following an acrimonious split. Hook upset his former New Order / Joy Division alumni by amongst other things performing Joy Division material with his new band The Light, meanwhile New Order hit the road with new bassist Tom Chapman stopping off at the Forbidden Fruit festival in Dublin last summer.
‘Lost Sirens’ songs were originally recorded during prolific writing sessions for 2005’s ‘Waiting For The Siren’s Call.’ At the time the band intended to add several songs to the 8 remaining songs which now appear on ‘Lost Sirens’ and release a quick follow-up album. 8 years of record company wrangling and almost comical inter-band spats later, the quick follow-up is finally released.
I’ll Stay With You momentarily suggests it’s about to become a Faithless-esque floor-filler before the classic combination of Bernard Sumner’s fragile vocals and angular guitar melodies and Peter Hook’s swaggering high-end bass riffs enter the fray; ironically conjuring a radio friendly tale of never-ending friendship.
Sugarcane has more of an electronic (Sumner/Marr supergroup) feel to it mixing jangly, funk guitar stabs with Key-bass through the verses while a Motown girl group vibe permeates the sugary chorus of “Wake up right now, stop what you’re doing you’ve gotta be true, you know you don’t live forever…” It’s a purposefully saccharine and throwaway piece of fun.
Recoil is a more mature, slow burning piano based offering. Sumner’s vocal fits the jazzy, lounge soundscapes perfectly, but at just over five minutes Recoil almost outstays its welcome. Thankfully Californian Grass raises the pace somewhat “Give me all that I ask, some Californian grass, bring it over to me, I want everything that I see” gushes Sumner through its chorus. It’s by no means a classic New Order track, but it’s the sound of a band thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Like opening track I’ll Stay With You, Hellbent displays contemporary influences from the period of recording; In this case there’s an obvious nod to The Dandy Warhols and Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) who collaborated with New Order around this time, throughout the verses. Hellbent juxtaposes fluttery electro with squealing guitar licks; it’s not a wholly successful experiment, but once again New Order produce a decent chorus to tie the track together. Indeed, almost every song on ‘Lost Sirens’ has a vocal hook, most bands would be envious of. It seems incredible that some of this material was overlooked for the initial album release
I’ve Got A Feeling screams radio friendly unit shifter, thanks to its big melodic sing-along chorus, while Shake It Up complete with Austin Powers segue, was built for an indie-disco dance floor. It’s a pity that New Order couldn’t stick to their plan, as the creative juices were clearly flowing in the right direction in 2005, but the idiocy of ego scuppered them just as they were getting back into their stride.
If you like New Order you may also like Irish band Ghost Estates.