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New Order - The story behind Waiting For The Sirens Call and a track by track overview


Feature: Jack Foley

IT'S been a while but New Order finally return with their new album, Waiting For The Sirens Call, on Monday, March 28.

Featuring 11 new songs, the album is said to underline the band's ability to both shake the dancefloor and rock the hardest, while taking in influences as diverse as electro, rock, dancehall and punk.

First single, Krafty, was a bass-driven and ridiculously catchy effort that showcased the band at their best, while recalling fond memories of earlier tracks such as Regret.

While the title track is wistful and sublime, considered by the band to be one of the best tracks they’ve ever made.

The album was carefully recorded over seven months, using a ‘Who’s Who’ of producers, including Stephen Street, John Leckie, Stuart Price and New Order themselves.

A sustained burst of song-writing by the band resulted in 18 completed songs, which marked a first for New Order.

Says Bernard Sumner: "We usually do just enough for an album, ten songs and it’s done."

Yet the seven tracks left off Sirens are so strong that they are likely to form the basis of a future LP.

Phil Cunningham, recruited as guitarist when New Order took Get Ready on the road, had the privilege of being invited by Bernard, Peter Hook(y) and Steve Morris to join the song-writing process for this new record.

"I found it strange at first," he says, "because New Order use a lot of technology. And sometimes they reject stuff because it sounds ‘too New Ordery’."

“It’s the heart and the soul of New Order that’s important," explains Bernard. "If something sounds like a pastiche, that’s not good enough."

Rejecting the obvious has always been New Order’s technique: in their 28 year career, they’ve changed the face of pop music on more than one occasion.

As Joy Division, they ripped up rock’s rule book by making music that was heavy and subtle, glacial, yet full of lament - Love Will Tear Us Apart has just been chosen as one of The Brits 25 best songs ever written.

Then, as New Order, they were light years ahead of the dance scene with the world’s best-ever-selling 12” single, Blue Monday, before bringing Madchester to the masses with the platinum-selling album Technique.

As an aside, they made the only cool football anthem ever made, World In Motion, which went to Number One – as well as having hits with various side projects such as Electronic, Monaco and The Other Two.

The New Order legacy is undeniable, yet the band keeps coming up with more.

(Featured compiled by using text from Miranda Sawyer, Jan 2005)

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Tracklist (with production credits)

Who’s Joe? (produced by New Order) - Steve: "It’s a nice uptempo number, along the lines of Guilty Partner and Dream Attack. It came quite easily, it was deposited on earth fully formed, a lovely baby. And it’s got a funny clangy noise in it. My speciality."
Bernard: "It reminds me of Joy Division, it’s got that heaviness. Who’s Joe? Absolutely no idea. To me, it’s the story of a tramp."

Hey Now What You Doing (Stephen Street) - Bernard: "It’s fresh. It doesn’t remind me of anything we’ve done before. I was thinking of a lad from Moss Side when I was writing the lyrics."
Phil: "It’s got power and it’s instant. It came from my guitar riff idea, so I like it, and it’s quite easy to play.”
Steve: “It’s daring of Bernard to try rhyming future and computer. I admire that.”

Waiting For The Sirens’ Call (New Order) - Hooky: "Barney’s done really well with the vocals and the lyrics are really good. They’re about travelling, I think. It’s his yachting influence."
Bernard: "It’s my favourite track. The backing track’s brilliant, Hooky’s bass is fantastic on it. It made me crap it a bit, because I thought, If I don’t get the vocals right, I’m going to destroy a classic song. I don’t know quite what’s it about. Could it be about death? Or infidelity. It’s not about me in particular."

Krafty (John Leckie) - Hooky: "I was working with Hybrid, and wrote this middle bit of a track, and thought, That’s too good to leave there, I’m having that, so I asked them and they said, That’s fine. And it turned into Krafty. And it’s just great."
Steve: "It started as a jam, a bit like Lonnie Donegan. But then we put electronic noises in there."

I Told You So (New Order) - Bernard: "I was on holiday on my boat in the Caribbean, tuning in a shortwave radio into all these mad stations. The beats were fantastic, really interesting. So I recorded some stuff off the radio, and used it as the inspiration for a song. I like it because it starts off with these dancehall beats and then turns into Velvet Underground somewhere in the middle, and I like both of those things."

Morning Night And Day (Stephen Street) - Phil: "It reminds me of Primal Scream, the sentiment and the rocky Stones-y vibe. But it’s actually quite programmed."
Bernard: "That one is autobiographical. It is definitely about my life. My life as it used to be. Actually, it’s about Phil’s life.”
Hooky: “Oh god. When you get to our age, the hangovers are so massive, they last for about a week."

Dracula’s Castle (John Leckie) - Bernard: "St Catherine’s, where this was partly recorded, was built by Henry VIII for one of his illegitimate daughters. It was a courthouse for a bit and I wrote lyrics in this room where people were judged and tried. It had an old fireplace, and was all lit by candles. It was a creative room but very spooky. That’s why Dracula’s castle is in there."

Jetstream (Stuart Price) - Bernard: "I must admit, I was a bit dubious when Ana Matronic was suggested as a singer, but she did a fantastic job, really lifted the song. We knew it was a good track, but it needed something that we couldn’t give it."
Phil: "We were aware we had mainly rock tracks, so we consciously wrote something to dance to."

Guilt Is A Useless Emotion (Stuart Price) - Bernard: "A very difficult song to write, with a tortuous route to get to where it is now! I can’t categorise it, but loosly, it is a dance record. Get Ready had no dance tunes, which we were very aware of, especially after we toured that record in 2001. It’s important to keep the balance. "

Turn (Stephen Street) - Hooky: "We wrote this when it was miserable and rainy, and we wanted to cheer ourselves up!"

Working Overtime (Stephen Street) - Bernard: "I was worried that things were getting a bit flowery and melodic and chordy, so it’s great to have a track like this, with a dumb one finger riff. You should never forget that the best music is simple and you don’t have to be a great musician to make it."

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