Another year, another New Order break-up. Although this time it looks like it might actually stick. There have been tiffs and riffs before, as well as a burgeoning sub-genre of New Order side projects. And the emergence of Bad Lieutenant could be seen as just another in this legacy, except for the fact that it pretty much includes everyone except bassist Peter Hook. So is this the "new" New Order? Or is it another necessary therapy session to help the various members work out their differences long enough to reunite once again?
Bad Lieutenant features Bernard Sumner carrying over his New Order responsibilities of vocalist/songwriter/guitarist. In tow are NO drummer Stephen Morris, and more recent NO touring partner Phil Cunningham on guitar. Joining the fold are Jake Evans on guitar and co-lead vocals, and Blur bassist Alex James. With the triple-guitar lineup, their sound combines New Order songwriting sensibilities with a more pronounced guitar rock aesthetic. Although Bernard's songs are the base for the group, it grabs its own distinctive edge from having dual lead vocalists in Sumner and Evans.
Opening tracks "Sink Or Swim" and "Twist Of Fate" are both radio-friendly singles and immediately establish the record as a strong one. It's difficult not to think of it as another New Order outing, as the songwriting is very reminiscent of that group's past two albums, Waiting For The Siren's Call, and Get Ready. Granted, the bass lines aren't the distinctive Hooky riffs we've grown accustomed to, but you can quickly acclimate yourself to that singular change. Although Morris is now a full member of the band, he was only able to record a portion of the record during its production. Because of this, the drumming comes off a bit more staid than usual, but again unless you're trying to recreate New Order nit for nit, this works in the general sense.