They just couldn’t help themselves, could they?
Finish the album on a high? No.
Avoid the gaping maw of bluesy-rock cliche? No.
Did we need any more swineing*? Hell No.
Part of me wants to rip into Working Overtime because frankly I really don’t like it, but I was re-reading the bands’ comments on this song, and their collective love for it has given me pause. Given all the contemporary and near-horizon drama surrounding the band in 2005, and that this was to be the last track on the last album to be recorded by the 3 remaining members of their original band – a band founded on the influences of Bowie, The Stooges, Velvet Underground et al – then perhaps it’s fitting and appropriate for them to rock out one last time, and who am I to deny them their tale of some “piece of dirty trash… he don’t care… working overtime… don’t need no one… by his self… in trouble all the time…” etc.; not all that far removed from the equally rocked-out sentiments in Joy Division’s earliest recording At A Later Date: “working really tires me… we try to get away… drinking rotten beer… i think i’ll turn to crime… ” etc. Or am I wishfully searching for a long arc to justify my argument? No 🙂
Working Overtime eh? It chugs. It rolls. It distorts in all the right places and it bores me senseless. Bernard “Hey (repeat)” Sumner IS The Fonz – and having listened to this song too times today I now can’t get a stupid (and completely made up) looped visual out of my mind of Bernard in a leather jacket and greasy black hair giving both thumbs up 11 times as he cranks out his vocal performance in the studio, possibly causing Hooky to consider once and for all leaving the band**.
Waiting For The Siren’s Call then. For me it’s the most bipolar of New Order’s albums, with almost a down-the-line 50/50 split between really good and really ordinary songs (one of which was considered suitable as a single – go figure), all wrapped in the most bland sleeve that Saville could possibly muster. Soon Hooky would announce his departure from the band and the next decade would be awash with the most appalling, public and acrimonious bile-letting. Horrible for fans of the band to watch, no matter which side of the trench your allegiances lay. Many veils were lifted whether we wanted them to or not, many notions were shattered, and many reputations were damaged forever. Unreleased recordings from the album sessions notwithstanding (and which would emerge in 2011 and 2013), only the short Control Soundtrack motifs remained to be recorded, and so in 2006/07 it was was very much the case that New Order’s ship – based on the core trio which agreed to set out on a remarkable journey in the months following Ian Curtis’s death in 1980 – had finally been scuttled at sea, and it was a very sad time; and in fact looking back I think I actively disconnected from following popular music for several years (something which helped my record label because I turned my attentions back to the local scene).
Neither Bad Lieutenant nor (to a much greater extent) Freebass would have any major impact on me, and I only bought Total and Lost Sirens because I’m a completist, not because they had anything new to offer in either content or idea. All of this leads to the fact that the 2012 reformation (inclusive of Gillian), the signing to Mute, Music Complete (of course), the reinvigorated and innovative tours, and even that Hooky was satisfied to revisit old glories with The Light and finally stopped leaving rank verbal deposits all over the place, was so remarkable that it gave me renewed hope and renewed passion for all things New Order, because frankly they’re hugely important to me and I didn’t want it all to end the way it did. Is that love? Yes.
* Refer Rock The Shack et al.
** Pretty sure that’s not what happened though.
Available on: Waiting For The Sirens’ Call