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on 29 January 2013
I've been a New Order fan since the 80s - when I used to queue up at record shops on a Monday, behind sulky youths in T-shirts and black trench coats, to buy the latest release - so I bought this out of a sense of loyalty.

I'm not keen on Waiting for the Sirens' Call, and rarely listen to it, so I didn't have high expectations for this EP - effectively the sweepings from the floor after they made that last album.

I have to say, though, that it's not that bad. I actually prefer it to WFTSC. Bernard Sumner said in a recent Guardian interview that it was made at a time when Peter Hook had lost interest in New Order and wanted to pursue his DJing career. I think you can hear that in this record - the relative lack of his distinctive bass moves the sound more into Pet Shop Boys territory. It still compares favourably with releases from younger bands, though.

It's also interesting that it's marketed as an EP - it's longer than the second XX album, for example, and only a minute or so shorter than Technique.
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on 7 April 2017
Excellent mini album supplied in pristine condition from Mediamerchants. For me, the stand out track is Recoil, but the whole album is New Order back at their best. But wait, Music Complete is arguably even better - let's just hope they carry on...
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on 5 April 2013
How these songs never made it on to Waiting For The Siren's Call is anyone's guess. They should've released it as a special double cd. The songs are great and not just a cutting room floor exercise. And the whole thing lasts around 40 minutes. Brilliant.
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on 27 February 2013
Just to complete the set really, no real classics but still good New Order staple songs. They had this stuff recorded and we were all just waiting for the release, so buy it if you're a die hard fan.
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on 22 February 2013
There was no reason to expect that these songs would be even half-good. The 8 years since the last album have seen two new compilations, one so-so side project (Bad Lieutenant) and one actively terrible one (Freebass), some unnecessary 12-inch vinyl single remixes, a set of botched album remasters, and worst of all, a public fall-out that puts the lie to the phrase 'there's no such thing as bad publicity'. Not for me to speculate on the reasons for the split, but Peter Hook, who used to be my favourite member of the band, hasn't passed by many opportunities to slate his former bandmates, despite being the first to leave. It reminds me of finishing with someone, then complaining when they get new friends and a new squeeze - get over it Peter, it's no longer your business! For a band who used to be 'cool' it's a complete turnaround. Until the 90s they were mysterious and it was difficult to find out anything about them. Now you wish they'd all just shut up. No wonder their popularity has eroded.

So, the album comes with low expectations, to put it mildly. Add to that that the last album (Sirens' Call) wasn't particularly well-received, and that these tracks are erroneously often presented as offcuts or outtakes (actually they were recorded at the same time but were supposed to be the core of the next album), why should you look any further?

Actually, I don't think Sirens' Call was a bad album - just a wildly inconsistent one - with some of their best ever tunes (title track, Turn, Who's Joe?) and some of their worst (Jetstream) along with a fair few that sounded like they were written by a different band entirely (I Told You So, Working Overtime). Overall, the album was let down by slightly flat, glossy production that smoothed out the rough edges too much.

On the first few listens, it's just the same case here - just more of the same slightly disappointing songs with few real hooks. The production is still flattish and too many of the songs are mid-paced. You would hope that had they released them they might have been edited and sharpened at least. However, after putting the album away I realised the songs had begun to embed themselves in my brain, and revealed some hidden treasures. I haven't stopped listening since:

1) I'll Stay With You. Should have been a single instead of Jetstream. The most instant song and stands comparison with their best work of the last decade or so.
2) Sugarcane. As the name suggests, it's a saccharine bit of froth about the travails of being rich and famous. Vibrant, but disco-ey and cheesy (particularly the chorus) You'll either love or hate it. I love it.
3) Recoil. Melancholic slower number. The vocals are beautiful but the Latin-ish arrangement sounds very easy-listening. It's promising but I wish they'd roughened it up a bit. It also goes on for ever. It reminds me of 'It's Probably Me' by Sting, but that's possibly a better song!
4) Californian Grass. Simply beautiful, slow-burning song. Doesn't sound much on first few listens but play it loud and you get it.
5) Hellbent. The first time I heard this song (on 2011's Total Compilation) I thought it sounded like a weak retread of 1998's Brutal. But it has a nagging chorus and a driving riff that really sticks in the brain. It does indicate the flatness of the production though - the 2011 Total version is essentially the same mix but sounds a lot more crystalline and sharper.
6) Shake it Up. Rough, haphazard, shouty song that sounds vaguely like a rocked-up version of 1983 hit Confusion. Could do with some editing and has far too many different things going on. B-side material.
7) I've Got A Feeling. Simple but effective lyrics - a very atmospheric song with a great guitar line. Another one that sounds like nothing on first listen but really improves.
8) I Told You So. The original was on the parent album and was a reggae-lite number that didn't really gel. This version is entirely different - a stripped down, Velvets-ish number with stark drums and squalling guitar. The version appeared first on a vinyl single in 2006 but this remix is shorter, sharper and punchier. One of my least favourite songs on Sirens and one of the best here - who'd have thought it?

All in all, this isn't a completists' only collection. There are a number of tunes that show NO were still trying something different in their dying days, and many of these songs would have clearly improved the parent album. What's also good is how nicely it is packaged - I've got the vinyl version with extra CD, and it's a simple but striking design that harks back to their glory days, rather than the half-assed cover of their last album. It's a mellow and intriguing bunch of songs that is definitely worth getting. My only real gripe is that they missed a trick not including the Mac Quayle remix of Guilt is a Useless Emotion. This is only available on the US version of Sirens and not only does it completely destroy the original, but it's one of the best songs they've done in years - another lost single. Adding it here would have got it a deserved wider audience and increased the punchiness of the album no end.
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on 2 March 2016
Amazing! Somehow - don't ask me how - I missed the last 20 years of New Order until I finally caught up with them again by listening to and buying 'Music Complete'. This led me to go back and listen to the albums released during the last 15 years - including this one, which I gather is not strictly new but is an album of, essentially, B-sides that didn't make the 'true' album. This is a classic error in my view. Some of the tracks on this album are absolutely superb and well worth a listen. How do these people keep going? I have no idea, but long may they continue!
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on 19 April 2013
Perhaps a bit of a departure from some of their past songs but great listening with many sounds you will instantly know as New Order and like and others to listen to and grow into. Why criticise something a little different. If you only like the old songs just listen to the old albums. If you are a true New Order fan what's not to like.
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on 13 March 2013
Ok so not outstanding, but not that bad either. Having assumed, following the band's split that there wouldn't be any new releases, this was a welcome bonus, like being reunited with a good friend you haven't seen in a few years. The relationship might not reach the heady heights that it once did, but it feels good to have them around.
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on 26 March 2014
I love New Order, and have done for many years. I grew up with their music and they were always my favourite band, who I would defend to the hilt in the face of any criticism. New Order invented dance music!

Even I, however, can't say that this is any good. Get Ready was their last decent album, Waiting for the Sirens Call wasn't up to much, and as this is made up of stuff which didn't make it onto that album my hopes weren't high. Carrying on since without Hooky just smacks of desperation, although I cant hold it against them as the Hacienda (allegedly) took all their money so they have to make a living somehow I suppose.

If you like New Order, don't buy this and just revisit the good stuff from the 80's. If you want to get into New Order, get Lowlife or Technique from when they were brilliant and trendsetting.
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on 27 May 2013
Okay, so the original line-up split before this was released. Okay, so it could be interpreted as rejected tracks from 'Waiting for the Siren's Call' album. The reality is....a classic New Order album with all of the very traits we have come to know and love.
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