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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Mixed pickings as New Order clear out the vault

Published 11/01/2013 | 18:00

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Lost Sirens

(Rhino)

HHHII

Bernard Sumner and company were in fine form when delivering a near fat-free concert at Dublin's Forbidden Fruit festival last summer, yet the absence of the long-estranged member, Peter Hook, robbed New Order of a vital part of their collective DNA.

With reconciliation between the bassist and the rest of the band unlikely any time soon, this eight-track mini-album may well be the last time Sumner, Hook and fellow New Order and Joy Division founder Stephen Morris feature together.

Culled from songs recorded but unused from sessions for the band's last album, 2005's Waiting for the Sirens' Call, the 'new' songs are typical of latter New Order: well-executed synth-rock, but not a patch on the groundbreaking tracks that made them so vital in the 1980s.

Such an assessment shouldn't surprise anyone who has heard Waiting for the Sirens' Call – by some way, the weakest of the band's eight albums.

Yet, the group's adventures in electronica remain far more interesting than many of the other bands at the time who followed in their wake.

Album opener I'll Stay With You flexes and pulses like classic New Order while Hellbent – released in shorter "radio edit" form on the best-of compilation, Total – really should have made the cut on Sirens' Call.

Still, despite the mixed pickings, it's good to hear "lost" tracks in which Peter Hook's bass plays a prominent role.

The band's other long-term member, Gillian Gilbert, is not involved here. She left the group in the middle part of the last decade to care for her young family but is now very much back in the New Order fold.

Key tracks I'll Stay With You; Hellbent

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