Saturday, December 12th, 2009
CONTEST – Bad Lieutenant / Never Cry Another Tear LP
AmazonIn all reality, Bernard Sumner has earned the right to do whatever the hell he wants. That is one of the perks of being guitarist in two of the most seminal bands of the post-punk era (we’re talking about Joy Division and New Order, if you’ve been living under a rock or are just bad with names). So after the rather ignoble end of the latter act this year (bassist Peter Hook basically announced the end of the group without actually consulting the others first), Sumner was left to try and make it three for three as far as being in brilliant bands was concerned (or four for four if you count Electronic, who I wouldn’t call brilliant but had some great tunes).
And so enter the unfortunately-named Bad Lieutenant (at least they’re not called Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans), which sees Sumner teamed up with guitarist Phil Cunningham – himself a member of New Order for their final, Gillian Gilbert-less album Waiting For The Siren’s Call and one Phil Evans, also handling guitar duties and of no previous band of consequence. They released their debut Never Cry Another Tear earlier this Fall and its tones and textures are, unsurprisingly, very much in the vein of the last couple of New Order records – heavy with the guitar jangle, roaming basslines, vague lyricism and catchy if somewhat generic tunes. Sumner’s voice is instantly recognizable but Cunningham also steps up to the mic on a number of songs and you would be forgiven for mistaking his vocals for those of Doves frontman Jimi Goodwin, so similar are their timbres. As far as real guest stars go, New Order drummer Stephen Morris – who is also a member of the live unit – and Blur bassist Alex James make appearances. The net result is an album that’s competent and comfortably familiar – at points almost too self-referentially so – but not especially distinctive. Somewhat disappointing given the band’s pedigree, but after all this time and all he’s done, if Sumner wants to phone one in, who are we to criticize? We’ll always have Power, Corruption & Lies.
The album is out on Original Signal Records and courtesy of the label, I have five copies of Never Cry Another Tear to give away on vinyl. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want the Bad Lieutenant” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. Contest closes at midnight, December 18 and is open to residents of North America.
The San Francisco Chronicle has a Q&A with Bernard Sumner.
Tags: Bad Lieutenant