With New Order’s latest, Waiting For The Sirens’ Call, we have come full circle. The new wave innovators were one of the most enigmatic hit machines of the 1980s, occasionally poking out of their reclusive holes to deliver a kick-ass song like “Bizarre Love Triangle.” Spawned from Joy Division, a band known for gloom rather than gusto, New Order’s core members have known the highs and lows of rock stardom. But on Waiting, they seem more concerned with reaching the highest heights, as the 12 synth-pop tracks fight to rock out in the face of naysayers.
On the album’s first track, “Who’s Joe?” New Order gains the disdain of rock critics across the land by quoting Jimi Hendrix; asking, “Hey, Joe. What you doing?” Obviously, they don’t give two shits about music journalism. And hey, neither do I. Their first single, “Krafty,” makes a link between the social and the personal by saying, “You’ve got to look at life the way it oughta be / Looking at the stars from underneath the tree.” The song also sounds a prominent motif of the album, a woman whom Bernard Sumner repeatedly serenades with lines like, “I’ll never let you go.” Apparently, New Order never washed up, never faded away and always kept writing ass-shakingly good songs. Some of the tracks throw wild cards into the mix, like “I Told You So,” which features a reggae beat and an eerie Phil Collinsesque singalong.
These genre-fusing oddities are absolutely necessary, as they require the listener to approach the album with an open mind. Rock music is constantly being pushed forward by change, which is why it is often considered such an exciting artistic medium. Although Waiting For The Sirens’ Call maintains a classic New Order sound, I doubt the band ever intended for that sound to be labeled “classic.” They are progressive creators at the core, and will continue entertaining themselves with the synthesizers the band houses in their basements, regardless of how many people are listening – and that is what makes them beautiful.
[Did you miss Matt Cappiello in last quarter’s “Cabaret”? Too bad, he plays a mean piano.]