New Order

Waiting for the Sirens' Call
(London Records)

You can't listen to "Bizarre Love Triangle" or any of New Order's other tech-pop oldies without marveling that a generation of teenagers thought such stuff conferred sophistication, compared to, say, George Michael. But having never matched the dark romance of their original incarnation as Joy Division, the quartet's strummy bass and barreling BPMs are now enriched by a full complement of affably jangly guitars and, more significantly, songwriting that resonates beyond the dance floor. "Who's Joe?" may or may not be a rewrite of the Leaves' Hendrix-covered "Hey Joe," but either way, the song's electronic sheen, flirting with sparkly arpeggiated guitar, makes a fine parchment for a compassionate letter to a troubled friend. Like all the album's 11 tracks, the song just lilts along with Bernard Sumners' wry-sounding vocals, which have never been more oddly soulful than they are now. Even more so than 2001's Get Ready, Waiting for the Sirens' Call is an album's worth of pop-rock singles that offer something better than sophistication: maturity.

 
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