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Review : New Order – Waiting For the Sirens’ Call

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“You’ve gotta look at life the way it oughta be.” Such is the simple lesson at the center of “Krafty,” the leadoff single for New Order’s first studio creation in four years. Through the band’s eyes, it seems life oughta be a warm place with hooks that instantly engage the mind and possibly the dancing feet.

Steering away from 2001’s guitar-heavy Get Ready, on Waiting For the Siren’s Call New Order once again embrace a universe of instantly memorable pop hooks infused with an ever-present, but never oppressive, air of melancholy. It is music slow to sink in and possibly will even seem ephemeral at first listen, but when heard multiple times it is an album you will want to hear again and again. From the shiny pop-rock of “Morning Night and Day” to the Kraftwerkian electronics of “Krafty,” Waiting For the Sirens Call is a pop masterpiece that ranks with the band’s best work.

When New Order first emerged from the ashes of Joy Division, Bernard Sumner’s tentative vocals were frequently buried deep in the band’s densely electronic mix. In the intervening two decades Sumner’s confidence as a vocalist has grown consistently. On Waiting For the Sirens Call his voice is central to every song and shines as a gorgeous instrument that effortlessly reflects the varying emotional colors encountered in daily interactions with people from the most intimate of relationships to a more generalized sense of the human race.

Waiting For the Sirens Call is infused with perhaps the warmest, most organic, sound atmosphere yet heard on a New Order album. The cautionary “Hey Now What You Doing” and the jangly “Turn” revel in equal echoes of mid-80s R.E.M. and mid-70s California rock. The dreamy “Who’s Joe” goes down smoothly as well. However, New Order haven’t completely abandoned their heavily electronic roots. “I Told You So” is built on an engaging techno-reggae beat and leadoff single “Krafty” is such a perfect recreation of the band’s classic electronic feel that you may check the calendar to ensure it’s not actually 1983.

In the past, New Order have influenced, if not wholly shifted the direction of pop and dance music with their own releases. Their classic “Blue Monday” is often cited as a groundbreaking landmark. With its warm, comforting, organic feel, Waiting For the Sirens Call is unlikely to break new ground, but once heard a few times it will linger long on personal playlists.

Jangly guitars, crystalline synths and the mellow longing of Bernard Sumner’s voice will stir emotion. Like the best in pop music, it first settles into a comfortable place in the head then ultimately comes to rest in the heart.

Note : Waiting For the Sirens Call is available as a UK import March 28 and in regular US release April 26.

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About Bill Lamb

  • http://www.neworderonline.com Nicolas LeBlanc

    Nice review. You can right now preview the full album by going to neworderonline.com

    Remember folks, this is actually only 50% of what has been recorded, they kept 7 tracks for an upcoming album in 2006.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    I have flung this heartily and mightily up on Advance.net. Let’s hope it sticks.

    The review can be found at a few different places on the Advance network around the country, but here’s one of them.

    Thank you
    Temple Stark

  • Clay

    Great take on this album. I agree, it’s their strongest work in years.

    I was trying to put my finger on what does it for me with this album and not so much their others in recent years. I think your description of “air of melancholy” is it.

    So much of their early work I loved (True Faith, Bizzare Love Triangle, Ceremony remade) were infused with this. Sadly, this is lacking in today’s music from what I hear. Or is it that I’m getting older? :)

    I’m looking forward to wearing it out over the next couple weeks.

    Cheers,

    Clay

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