After 2005’s hugely disappointing ‘Waiting For The Sirens’ Call’, it was almost inevitable that New Order would split soon after. Sure enough it appears New Order’s career will now be bookended by their two weakest albums. The chances of either Peter Hook or Bernard Sumner staging an injury time recovery seemed unlikely but the latter’s new band – formed with fellow New Order member Phil Cunningham – is a surprisingly youthful-sounding and vibrant record. So much so, it’s easy to forget Sumner is now in his early fifties.
To say that Bad Lieutenant revisit the past would be a massive understatement. ‘Sink Or Swim’ is based on a spiralling riff; not unlike that other New Order “spin off” project Monaco. and surely the opening to ‘Shine Like The Sun’ is more than a passing nod to ‘Love Vigilantes’. Elsewhere, ‘Poisonous Intent’ revives the digital glories of Electronic and ‘These Changes’ is strongly reminiscent of Doves.
Of course, not everything works. The inclusion of female backing vocals sounds instantly dated for all the wrong reasons and several songs are largely devoid of inspiration (summed up by “Lift up your heart and sing. Life is a precious thing.” from the inappropriately-named ‘Dynamo’). No matter, because the good outweighs the mediocre this time around. In keeping with the happy/sad moods of the album, ‘Summer Day’s captures a sense of sun-kissed melancholia and ‘Walk On Silver Water’ is another strong album track.
Rather like Peter Hook’s aforementioned Monaco, Bad Lieutenant will never achieve the invention and high points of New Order but ‘Never Cry Another Tear’ still qualifies as a strong indie guitar album, resplendent with summery charm. They may no longer be at the head of the pack but they still snarl at the heels of the front runners.
New Order, Monaco, Doves