New Order - Waiting for the Sirens' Call

2006-03-29 22:27

So you'd expect a 2005 release to be as exciting as The Cure's masterpiece from last year (called The Cure). Sadly, Waiting for The Sirens' Call is not as impressive because, as a pop or rock record it is simply about fifteen years late in coming.

There are several aspects of the release that feel unbalanced: the songs seem to flounder, many of them are just too long. Others would just declare them 'erratic'. And many of the lyrics sound like something you'd expect from a talented twenty-year-old, not from a post-punk pacesetter who started Joy Division in 1977.

Despite some notable production pedigree, Waiting For The Sirens' Call would be more appropriately called "Waiting For Something to Happen". Even legendary producer Stephen Street (Morrissey, The Cranberries) seems hamstrung by the inanity of "Hey Now What You Doing", a lilting ditty that Duran Duran might have scrapped from The Wedding Album (1993).

When that something does happen, way down the track list - track 10 "Turn" - it's way too late.

Street does a little better to rescue "Morning Night and Day" with a dense indie-flavoured soundscape, despite Bernard Sumner's insistence on using obvious narrative ideas: "I just want some action/ give me satisfaction / before it gets too late / send me to my fate". For the remainder, Sumner seldom raises his voice beyond a breath, the trademark bass motifs only occasionally pop out, and the rest is too restrained to make much of an impact.

New Order remains true to its foundations, combining electronica with rock quite efficiently. But this was cutting edge in 1988, and doesn't sit well as a retro novelty. On the plus side, Waiting for the Sirens' Call should get you in the mood for listening to your old Psychedelic Furs, Stone Roses and Lightning Seeds records.

- Anton Marshall

New Order's resume is impressive. "Blue Monday" (1983) became the biggest selling 12" record ever. They've enjoyed global success with several subsequent albums and singles. And all this happened AFTER they'd finished being the most revered band of Manchester's post-punk UK indie scene - Joy Division.

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