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Waiting For The Sirens' Call (2005)


Waiting For The Sirens Call - God-Like Genius?

Waiting For The Sirens Call - God-Like Genius?

Okay, I'm biased perhaps, because I've been a New Order fan since their first gig, but most of us 'old timers' can also be hugely critical - check out some of the messages people have posted on NewOrderOnline.com about 'Republic', 'World In Motion', 'Get Ready' and various other tracks/albums they've had personal gripes about.
Believe me, if I don't like something, I'll say so - I'm now resigned to joining the ranks of the 'Grumpy Old Men'.

Some bands release singles where new listeners think, 'Now, THAT was a good song!' Other bands release tracks where the listeners think, 'Oh, that was definitely So and So...'

New Order are a band that consistently make listeners think both.

For me, one of the most interesting things about 'Waiting For The Sirens' Call' (is the apostrohe in the right place?) is that most tracks somehow contain hints of previous New Order releases - the whole thing seems like a combination of 'Brotherhood', 'Technique' and 'Get Ready' and that's certainly not a bad thing - this album is like most of its predecessors - a couple of tracks stand out from the start, then, once you hit the 'repeat' button, you start to appreciate the subleties of the rest. I know it's an overdone cliche, but this album really is a 'grower'.

It has all the promising sparks of the side projects, but gels them together as a whole. One of the most pleasing aspects of this album is that Phil Cunningham seems to have slotted in seamlessly - he'll never be Gillian (beacuase she's irreplaceable) but he's certain to be accepted as the fifth member of New Order - and very welcome he is too, judging by the guitar work here! He lends the album a similar feel to the 'Electronic' albums, featuring Johnny Marr of The Smiths. He also adds some surprising guitar parts that lift what may have originally been fairly 'ordinary' ideas - by New Order standards - to a whole new level.

I've already heard people criticising tracks such as 'I Told You So' (a version given away on a free CD by the NME last week) as being 'Not New Order' etc... but stop. Track back to the beginning and listen again. Remember the first John Peel Session? 'Turn The Heater On'? New Order and a different beat? It's been done before...by New Order - and a long time ago too. Anyway, more about that track later!

A history of British music would have a deep, dark, lonely hole in it without New Order. The unintentional 'genius buffoons' of modern music - who else could release the best-selling 12" single of all time and (allegedly) not make a penny from it? And then plough the rest into the best club that the UK has ever seen and, as a result, lose even more money?

Sorry, my pre-amble is pre-ambling a bit too much - let's get to the album itself, track by track:

Who's Joe?

Starts with a synth part that ends along with the end of 'Morning Night And Day'. Have a listen to the first six tracks and identify the connection! Any song whose lyrics start with, 'Hey Joe' would make most people think of Hendrix immediately. Fair enough - I fell for that one too. However, Bernard Sumner's lyrics turn the whole thing on it's head straight away - 'Hey Joe, what you doin'? Seems like it's all going wrong.' But it's not going wrong, is it? A great opening track - later sublime lyrics such as 'You had your heart broke by a woman, now it doesn't work any more'. The New Order funnies don't stop coming... The opening synth notes hint at 'Sunrise' from 'LowLife'. Hooky's bass takes on its usual tones, but also fills the track out with a more traditional bassline.

Hey Now What You Doing

Starts with a very REM guitar/bass riff, then settles into the familiar New Order vein. Check out Barney's lyrics and the rhythm of the lyrics/rhyme - highly reminiscent of 'Brotherhood' from the start, which is more than helped by the accoustic guitar. Hooky's bass part draws from parts of 'Brotherhood' and the best of Monaco and Revenge, especially the latter, when listening to the low range during the verse. As Hooky once said in an interview during the 'Brotherhood' era - 'You can rip yourself off without realising it'. Lastly (but not a bad thing) a New Order track with a very definite guitar solo!

Waiting For The Sirens' Call

Apostrophe taken from the promotional material. Another Brotherhood track for the synth intro. This will please fans of the 'Electronic' side project. Lovely vocal melody/lilt on the chorus - if you can call it that - 'And I don't know where to turn when you're gone' - one of those almost throw-away lines that combined with the vocal melody, equals some of the better moments on 'Technique' . Overlapping vocals add to the layers of the song. This simply adds to the vocal interest of the whole track, rather than making it 'messy' as might have happened with other bands. Phil Cunningham has proved that he's a worthy successor to Gillian Gilbert - his guitar work on this track greatly adds to the whole sound - a lovely accoustic backing - accoustic guitar or electric with effects? Accoustic I think, though I may be wrong - either way, the guitar works well in the context of this song, complimenting Hooky's bass at every turn. A repetitive synth line as the backing fills the whole thing out perfectly.

Krafty

I can't imagine there being a more 'positive' single in the charts when this is released on March 7th. . 'Give me one last Chance' - sounds desperate, but isn't. Seems like Barney is the eternal optimist! Let's hope so, anyway. He urges the unknown subject of the song to accept the opportunity of trying again. Starts with Steve and Hooky - nice bass sound! Rhythm stops and starts and somehow makes the track special - most of the bands in the charts don't currently use such innovative drum/rhythm patterns mixed with the traditional. The twinkling 'bell sound' synths add a certain 'Other Two' feel to the track. The latest New Order single release - 'Krafty' is sure to chart - probably Top Ten, not simply because of the dedicated fan base and the NME awards - renewed interest for old fans and an introduction for the newbies, but because it will easily be the best and most inventive single in the charts. That is until the next New Order single release...

I Told You So

New Order skank! Get dancing...slowly! 1980's synth drums, ewwww! But hang on... again, it works! I hated it at first - 5 plays later I love it. Tapping my foot without realising - thanks Steve! Phil's right - It's bonkers, innit? I (and most long-standing fans) would never have guessed that New Order would have produced a track like this. It bounces happily along for a whole 5 minutes and 58 seconds! I can imagine Bernard 'whooping' along to this one - something that would be far more acceptable live than 'whooping' to 'Atmosphere' or 'LWTUA'. This track runs along a darker theme than the original bounciness may suggest, but for the casual listener could be the surprise summer hit of 2005... especially for those reurning from Medierranean islands in July/August/September. I may be wrong, but I feel that there's a massive scope for club remixes here!

Morning Night And Day

Sounds like a drink and drugs track about the 'Technique' era. But that's where the similarity to the 'Technique' era ends. This track is a return to the backing synth and drums of 'Low-Life' but heavier. The guitar work lifts the song, but Hooky's bass break around 2:45 through the song lifts it from an introspective thump to something better. Perhaps the most difficult track on the album for established fans to identify with. Hooky returns at the four and a bit minute mark, to be joined by some slick guitar licks, running into a synth part reminiscent of 'Sunrise'... is that the end of an intentional 'section' of the album?

Dracula's Castle

Weird title for a New Order track! Just don't let that cloud your opinions/listening pleasure. In the press release, Bernard explains that the lyrics were written in a castle (St. Catherine's) built by Henry VIII. This track shows what can come from a jam by Hooky, Steve and Phil - hopefully this will continue, as I'm sure it hasn't yet hit its zenith. Bernard's lyrics fit it perfectly. Again, shades of Brotherhood in the music - especially bass line, old style New Order guitar work and backing synth. One of the best tracks on the album - the kind that you hear a snippet on the radio, then have the track on the brain for the rest of the day. Hooky's bass on top form, again more in the style of 'Brotherhood' carrying the transitions between verse, chorus and instrumental. Barney's lyrics and the vocal tune, at certain points, remind the listener of 'Technique' - you remember the lyric? - 'And they gave him away, like in "Whistle Down The Wind" by the look on his face, he never gave in'. At the moment, this is my favourite track on the album, but you never know with New Order - in a couple of days, I might like another one better. Probably the favourite track for anyone who thought 'Technique' was the best New Order album.

Jetstream

Get over the whistling in the 'sample' at the beginning - it's not indicative of the quality of the rest of the track! The vocals start by twisting (the tenderness?) of a departure on a jet plane with the typical Sumner line, 'Can you wait? My pain will be arriving shortly'... Ana Matronic- another female American singer to collaborate with New Order. Works nicely, and becomes catchier with every listen. Certainly the most sing-along track on the album - doesn't necessarily make it the best, but should definitely be the next single from a commercial point of view. It will appeal to both New Order and Scissor Sisters fans around the world. I can imagine fans bouncing around to this track at the festivals - will Dawn be providing the live backing vocals if Ana Matronic can't be there? Although this isn't my favourite track on the album, it's the one that's really stuck in my head - embarrassing myself by humming it in the queue at the bank...!

Guilt Is A Useless Emotion

First thought is - which track am I listening to? 'Cardiac Arrest' by Madness? Then the heartbeat speeds up and the New order drum rhythms kick in. This song is vaguely resembles of some of the tracks on The Other Two's 'Other Two And You' and 'Super Highways' albums. The danciest track on the album will surely spawn a few DJ remixes - repetitive lyrics of 'I need your love' combined with the rhythm will be a favourite with the remix DJs. New Order and female backing vocals always seem to work! Looking forward to this track hitting the clubs... Hoping this is Dawn again on backing vocals - they show how any track can be lifted that one stage higher by a good backing vocalist.

Turn

From the start, I automatically had the feeling that the first lyrics would be, 'It doesn't take a genius to tell me that I'm wrong...' Of course, I was wrong, so whether you're a genius or not, take the hint! Another track that pulls back memories of the 'Technique' era. Have a listen to the whole thing and see which New Order track it reminds you of the most. Not wholly unpleasant, is it? You can hear the strains of it in the bass especially, but also in the guitars - to a lesser extent. Another great New Order album track, but it wouldn't hit the mark as a single - either from the point of view of a fan or from the mainstream record-buying public.

Working Overtime

Stephen says, 'It sounds a bit Stoogey' well, try 'Last Train To Clarkesville' by the Monkees clashes head on with 1969 by Iggy & the Stooges and he's quite right! This will definitely appeal to anyone who liked 'Rock The Shack' - and yes, I did, even if most other fans didn't, but I love guitar based music - even when it's New Order. By far the rockiest track on the album - I really do feel that if the guys had written this music when Ian Curtis was still around - he'd be listening to the rehearsal of it and dancing madly in his room. Certainly not traditional New Order, but what is nowadays? This is a track that people will either love or hate, but, I, for one, love it.

The Hidden Track?

Search for it! (I'm evil, aren't I?)

This will be a hugely pleasing album for most fans, as it has elements of the albums that many fans praise the most - 'Brotherhood', 'Technique' and 'Get Ready'.
I'm also sure that it will introduce many more people to the band's music - given a careful and musically erudite choice of singles.
This release leaves you wanting more - not because there's anything missing, but if the band are to be believed (!) there are still at least another seven tracks from this recording session not included on the album. Let's hope some of those tracks are released as singles (not on albums) or as 'b' sides or extra tracks - back to the old New Order/Factory ethos.
After hearing this album, you'll want to hear more of the same. Don't believe me? Well, stick it on 'repeat' and try saying it's not the best release of the year! Then try playing it again in December 2005 and saying it's not the best release of the year... 'God-Like Genius' well, they won't win that one again, but how about 'Album Of The Year'?

After playing this CD, this old man is not as grumpy as he was 56 minutes ago...

Chris Nash
2005


Source: NewOrderOnline.com (Chris Nash)