Label: Rhino RecordsRating: 7/10
Lost Sirens is New Order’s first album for eight years. Although, strictly speaking, it isn’t an album. Not in the traditional studio sense of the word, anyway. Comprised of superfluous material from the recording of their 2005 album Waiting For The Sirens Call, the fittingly titled Lost Sirens is eight tracks that have been picked up from the cutting-room floor and dusted off. As such, it’s a New Order record that features one member who has now left (inimitable bassist Peter Hook) and missing one member who has since re-joined the outfit (keyboardist Gillian Gilbert).
But the proof is in the pudding, as they say; is the record any cop? Somewhat surprisingly given the slightly unusual circumstances surrounding its release, it’s not all that bad. Revisiting their late eighties sound, i.e. big synths and new wave patterns, it’s a sonic return to arguably their finest era. Tracks like the saccharine Sugarcane tap into the band’s love of disco patterns, whilst Shake It Up finds the band capturing those early-dance crossover sounds that made them a household name. That’s not to say the results are all successful. Tracks like I’ve Got A Feeling and Recoil sound limpid and lazy.
Yet, there is just about enough hits present to warrant its existence. I’ll Stay With You, with its big colourful riffs and tight drumming, is a confident and well-placed opening to the album. Whilst, the anthemic Hellbent perfectly captures the big, electro–rock sound that New Order forged their decade spanning reputation upon. Proof that the outfit, when on form, can rock it just as well as any fledgling band. Or at least they could eight years ago, when this was recorded.
There is an irony that the week this album came out marked the 25th anniversary of their seminal acid-house influenced album Technique. Recorded in Ibiza and arguably the band’s finest album, Technique (like Waiting For The Sirens Call) was recorded as the band fell to bits. That New Order, a quarter of a century later, are still trading in the same sounds and band dynamics is telling. This is a band, who have revisited their past in order to look to the future. And whilst, their next album (rumoured to be recorded this year) is likely to be a whole new kettle of fish, Lost Sirens finds New Order covering old ground. And whilst that might be particularly innovative or exciting, neither is it wholly disappointing.