Last orders for Hooky on this eight-track mini album of leftovers?
The blokish and affable Peter Hook and the saturnine Bernard Sumner are not really on talking terms these days and this mini-album may be the last time you’ll ever get to hear them make beautiful music together. These eight tracks were left over from the band’s last studio album, 2006’s Waiting for The Siren's Call, and after several years of legal wrangles, they finally seen the light of play.
If you thought that last record would have been better named Waiting for The Muse’s Call then there won’t be much to detain or delight you here. Lost Sirens is, however, prime late period NO – solid, largely unspectacular but with occasional flashes of former brilliance. Sumner’s vocals are the usual mix of maudlin and less maudlin and Hook’s resonating bass lines remain the lead instrument on most tracks. Credit to the rest of the band for not getting vindictive at the mixing desk so.
The charging guitar sound of Hellbent is the best thing here and it's no wonder it’s already appeared on compilation album Total. The eminently danceable Hacienda-style Sugarcane reverts to an acid house piano breakdown and the pointed lyric “girls want to be with you lawyers want to deal with you” adroitly charts pop stardom from youthful glee to mid-life fall outs. You may also crack a knowing grin at the self-deprecating line, “You have the brightest future/Writing songs on your computer.”
The blunt yet poignant Recoil is also rather fine while on the sun-kissed Balearic breeziness of Californian Grass, Barney’s torpor is lifted by chiming guitars. Shake it Up bobs in a synth wash but loads on lashings of wha wha and BPMs but the real oddity here is I’ve Got a Feeling – incredibly, it sounds like a mutant cross between R.E.M.’s Turn You Inside Out, the VU’s Venus in Furs and Jape’s I Was a Man.