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Brad Latendresse (Toronto, Canada)

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Waiting for the Sirens' Call
Waiting for the Sirens' Call

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great, if uneven, summer record, 31 Mar. 2005
New Order are an amazing and dynamic band who eschew typical genre conventions. They do dance, they do rock, and they do them both fantastically well... most of the time. They are also inconsistent (listen no further than to Brotherhood, easily their worst album, despite that fact that it contains one of their best-ever singles, Bizarre Love Triangle) which as a fan is both frustrating and endearing: you wish they'd taken a little more time to get it perfect because you know they are absolutely capable of doing so, but at the same time the odd tossed-off lyric or unfinished arrangement add a bit of humanity and warmth to their relatively enigmatic (at least until recently) image.
If Get Ready was the rocking, re-invigorated sound of a phoenix rising from the ashes, Waiting is the sound of the band discovering if they can re-visit their sonic legacy without repeating themselves. For the most part they don't, though first single Krafty, with it's chiming Regret-style guitar, Atmosphere-ic keyboard fills and endearingly terrible lyrics, is a total retread (not, I must admit, that I really mind: no can do New Order like New Order). Indeed, it's the often bad lyrics that prevents this record from earning a fifth star, especially the first couple of songs whose lyrics are pretty much interchangeable and don't really enhance the music.
When things gel, however, look out: gorgeous, melodic, and filled with elegiac longing, the title track is a winner, and instant-turn-it-up-classic Turn is anthemic and more satisfying than anything on Get Ready. The danchall-ish I Told You So is great, (at least until it abruptly fades off without really reaching a climax) and Guilt is a Useless Emotion finds the group in full-on disco mode and sounds fantastic (producer Stuart Price is a perfect match for the band - can we please get some Thin White Duke remixes happening on the single releases, please?)
Overall, the album is highly polished in all the right places, and although it doesn't achieve a satsfying overall cohesion, it's well-sequenced and flows wonderfully. A minor complaint: I would have put the fine Dracula's Castle second last where it would be a better fit - it's a great marriage of rock and electronics and really sums up the album's goals nicely, plus it would be a better lead-in to album closer Working Overtime, which, though a punky departure for the group, works surprisingly well.
Pick it up - this is a great summer pop record, never a bad thing, and overall a nice addition to the New Order oeuvre.

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