Album Review: NEW ORDER ‘Lost Sirens’

new orderHere it is at last – eight years in the making, the release of new-wave legends New Order’s newest and, for myself at least, highly anticipated full-length album, Lost Sirens. After a couple of disappointingly underwhelming predecessors I was expecting a long-overdue return to form from this album, and it does not disappoint.

Lost Sirens starts off somewhat inauspiciously with opener ‘I’ll Stay With You’, a simple tune that is a perfectly solid song, but lacks in character and originality – not a great start. But doubts are soon dispelled as the album kicks off in earnest with second track ‘Sugarcane’. Beginning with a thrilling, pounding synthesiser, ‘Sugarcane’ is very powerful, very catchy and indeed very characteristic of heyday New Order – most certainly one of the highlights of the album.

Following on comes ‘Recoil’, the beginning of which is unfortunately reminiscent of lift music. However, the song does pick up as it continues, with some simple but effective guitar work making it chilled and inoffensive. Yet it feels something remains missing from the album thus far and during ‘Californian Grass’, I realise I am simply yearning for more classic New Order synthesiser. Call me old school, but it was their signature sound that rocketed New Order to such success in the 1980s, and it this I find myself wanting to re-experience in Lost Sirens.

Aroundtwo minutes into ‘Hellbent, Hallelujah!’ We see the return of that characteristic synthesiser, not overplayed but working with some very catchy guitar work, complemented by a number of effective piano breakdowns. ‘Shake it Up’ is a sudden unexpected leap back through the years of the band’s sound, with the intoxicating bass and drum beat reminiscent of 1989’s ‘Technique’, the band’s number one foray into alternative dance. ‘Thankfully I Told You So’, driven by a steadily thumping drum mixed with some vaguely sinister guitar work and powering up thrillingly as the song reaches its climax, closes the album on a high note.