Sunday, 10 March 2013

New Order - Sugarcane

So, this is my personal highlight from the relatively new release of New Order's Lost Sirens outtakes set. The set has been met with a relatively lukewarm reception from both fans and critics, although I personally feel its been viewed too harshly. That said, I think this is the best song of the compilation. First thing's first: I think this is a terrific song but its not hard to see why this was left off Waiting For The Siren's Call, its very generous on the synth side of things and frankly wouldn't fit. To this listener at least it sounds (and feels) more like a Bernard Sumner song as opposed to a Peter Hook song if that makes any sense? Hooky's base has no obvious part to play in the track but synthesizers can be found in abundance (which was always more Bernard Sumner's thing I think). For me I prefer New Order when they're electronic led as opposed to rock so that just suits me down to the ground. Lyrically as well this is one I can't make a lot of sense of. It seems to discuss celebrity culture or something but frankly I think the lyrics in this play second fiddle to the arrangement. And the vocal line, I love the vocal line here too. I pay more attention to that than the lyrics really. For me though, it's all about the arrangement in this one. And what an arrangement! The opening seconds of the track make it sound like a relatively acoustic number. I'll be honest, when I heard it for the first time I heard Lost Sirens I thought to myself "Oh lord its going to be an album of pretty much rock based stuff". Then the synths came in and completely took me by surprise. From then on in the track never looks back, and I just love the disco-esque guitar. The thing I love most about Sugarcane is its balance of old and new: vintage disco guitar mixed with a very modern synth. It's a theme for the track really. Near the 3 minute mark the track then has an instrumental breakdown where strings are prominent (it reminds me of the outro to Electronic's Getting Away With It from the 80s) and then pianos playing standard 90's house chords come in.... it has a much tighter sound than I'm describing though. It doesn't sound as messy as it should really. My only criticism? That the strings didn't last just a fraction longer. Like I said earlier its easy to see why this was left off Waiting For The Sirens Call as it wouldn't fit in on the album. Honestly, it is quite far removed from the cold icy feel of some of New Order's best known work. I can't think of a poppier New Order track to be quite honest. For that reason fans seem to be divided on it. Lyrically its no masterpiece, but the arrangement for Sugarcane is so exciting and ever-changing it demands repeated plays from me at least. Not like usual New Order material but if you approach it with an open mind you may just enjoy it. I certainly do.

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