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Manchester England's New Order is the original techno band from back in the '80s, though they were always much more than a group that just played dancefloor fodder. Their latest, Waiting for the Sirens' Call, proves that even after all these years, they have some surprises left up their sleeves.
Formed from the ashes of Joy Division, the icy cold new wave-era band whose influence has cast a long shadow over alternative rock for three decades now, New Order have stayed at work. And if they weren't always working as a band, they were immersed in all forms of musical collaborations and side projects. It's true, not much has been heard from New Order proper since 2001's Get Ready; before that there was a long gap in output since 1993's Republic. But by no means have the years been unkind, nor have they meant the group was unproductive.
Phil Cunningham has since replaced Gillian Gilbert in the lineup, but the band is otherwise intact: Bernard Sumner on vocals and guitar, Peter Hook on bass, and Stephen Morris on percussion, though the band members are generally multi-taskers, known to trade off instrumental duties.
The album's filled with pop songs like the guitar-oriented "Who's Joe?" (check the R.E.M.-style strumming) and the chunkier-riffed "Hey Now What You Doing." "Turn" and especially the catchy "Krafty" rely on the traditional synth-pop song structures that colored New Order's mid-period work like "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "Love Vigilantes." "Working Overtime" sounds like good old new wave, not so unlike that made by fellow Manchester native Mark E. Smith and his group The Fall, long time contemporaries from the Joy Division/New Order class of 1977.
"Dracula's Castle" and the title song are both great showcases for bassist Peter Hook's trademark melodic bass style. He delightfully leaves the traditional "bottom end" to the other instruments and makes free with his signature sound.
The band is credited for introducing the 12-inch dance remix by alternate producers into popular practice, and for their special U.S. Bonus Track on Waiting For The Sirens' Call, they've included a different version of "Guilt is a Useless Emotion" (Mac Quayle Vocal Mix). The album track recalls the Pet Shop Boys in its lushness, whereas the remix has flavors borrowed from high-NRG disco. "I Told You So" has earmarks of the dub reggae sound and features vocals by Dawn Zee.
Through the years, Sumner's delivery has warmed up from detached automaton to that of a living and breathing human with emotions. New Order's contribution to the development of alternative and synthesized rock has never been disputed -- they are definitely a five star act. But this most recent offering from New Order earns them bonus points: These days you'll find them to be an official, full service rock band.
By Danielle Santiago
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Warner Bros / WEA
|Physical Media Format|
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
5.00 x 0.42 x 5.63 Inches
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