New Order have risen like salmons to the challenge, fighting the weight of their back...
Chris Long 2004
Some bands are huge because everyone likes them. Others achieve their domination precisely because not everyone does. The Cure, The Smiths, REM...they are all acquired tastes, olives and marmalade to the ears of the music lover. New Order are the anchovy that sits atop that pile.
To some, they have produced album after album of the same old sound. To others (the smart ones) they are one of the most consistent, powerful bands to exit these shores. Waiting For The Sirens' Call will not alter the opinion of either camp.
Following the splendid return that was Get Ready and the all-encompassing retrospective smorgasbord Retro, New Order faced a mighty task in making this record, but they have risen like salmons to the challenge, fighting the weight of their back catalogue to produce something essential.
It's a rollercoaster of an album. It straps in with the ordinary "Hey Joe", hikes high with "Hey Now What You Doing", then hurtles off with the immense title track. The band considers it one of their finest ever songs; their pride is understandable. Epic and twitching, underwritten by one of Hooky's best basslines, it is the majesty of New Order writ large.
It could be their collaborators that have kept the ride enjoyable. New recruit Phil Cunningham gives an extra dimension of guitar, most significantly on the urgent "Morning Night And Day", star producers John Leckie and Stephen Street both polish the gems already present, and the Scissor Sisters' Ana Matronic brings her unique sense of style to the smouldering "Jetstream". Presumably, Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook's recent alliance with Gwen Stefani has given them a taste for raucous Americans.
Tearing ever onward, the album drops in on New Order's biggest floor filler since "Blue Monday", the potent "Guilt Is A Useless Emotion", before rattling through a foot-tapping "Turn" and stomping to a halt on the Iggy Pop-esque, drum driven "Working Overtime". At this point, the non-believers exit, assured in their opinion. Meanwhile, the rest of us pull the harnesses back down, wait for the ride to start again, and let the joy of a fresh New Order album wash over us.