Sugarcane < Recoil > Californian Grass

Being the obsessive New Order fan that I am, I regularly think about tracks, contexts and moments. In fact I could probably soundtrack most of every day with particular New Order songs, although I have yet to find a suitable juncture for Rock The Shack!

Anyway, the other day I was driving up into the hills of the Gold Coast hinterland with my better half; winding country roads, the dappled sunlight coming through the forest canopy, the smell of recent rain etc, when it occurred to me – not just because Lost Sirens is getting a workout at the moment – that Recoil, with its gorgeous piano, soporific lounge beats, Hooky’s lovely meanderings, the subtle strings, Phil’s smooth guitar work, and Bernard in full wistful/regret mode, was the perfect track for that moment. If ever you find yourself on an aimless afternoon drive to escape the city and clear your head, you’ll find that Recoil serves very nicely. I love that its a majority-instrumental that eschews the template of a fair percentage of New Order’s songwriting of the period; in particular that it has no choruses, and that it isn’t a misplaced attempt to ape anyone else.

I’m finding myself re-evaluating Lost Sirens, although I know there are several sinkholes in its topography. It has lain largely dormant on my record shelf (despite its pleasing aesthetic) because I’d associated its release with such a grim period in the band’s history. Recoil is as good as any of the strong album tracks across the years, and there is just enough good-or-better material on the record to give it new life in my estimation. When the time comes for me to compile my best-of playlists at the (temporary?) end of these reviews, Lost Sirens will be represented.

Rating: xxxxo

Available on: Lost Sirens

10 thoughts on “Recoil

  1. I suspect I’ll be in a minority here, but I don’t take to this one. I think there is a good, potentially amazing, song here waiting to emerge, but the production/mix is so bland and for me it sounds like easy listening. Those ‘soporific lounge beats’ make me think the Buble is about to start crooning his latest Christmas number. If the song had lost that swing-style backing and been roughed up a little (a bit like the instrumental backing to Stray Dog), it would have had a lot more atmosphere and bite. Even another slowie like Run Wild, which also veers into easy listening, has a good harmonica. This just sounds like mush.

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  2. Good write up Dennis. I think this track is wonderful and follows the Lonesome Tonight, All Day Long pattern of an instrumental passage instead of a chorus.

    Barney really sings on this one too. Not heard since 1963 dare I say. His delivery is one of his finest (if not best of that period) too.

    The instrumentation is great and reminds me of Soundtrack. Some great memoriable Hooky Bass noodlings, acoustic guitar picks and piano plunking, and wonderful strings.

    My only negative is I think “and when the dogs come howl at your door” would have been a far better line than “and when the doubts”.

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    1. That’s funny because I always thought it WAS “dogs”! And yet a quick google suggests that the line is “and when the dust come howl at your door”, which makes no sense. A minor mystery…


  3. ahhh, Recoil, in which our hero’s do their best Fleetwood Mac impersonation. Why in god’s name are our hero’s doing this? Or more to the point, why would ANYONE want to do a Fleetwood Mac impersonation? yuck. I agree with Ken, it’s just mush. MiddleOfTheRoad mush. Mid 70s California style mush. And that is not a good thing.

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    1. I think we’ve hit one of those tracks that divides opinion, which is great! I always liked ‘Tusk’ and my wife likes ’em so please don’t draw me into Fleetwood Mac comparisons 😉


      1. lol, I rather liked the song “Tusk” (not the album) as well, a groovy tribal chant. But my point is that NO was not supposed to be about this kind of MiddleOfTheRoad Crap. They are so much better than this. It’s just part of my bigger view of Get Ready and WFTSC… the group didnt have it’s mojo. Maybe it’s the absence of Gillian. Maybe it’s Hooky’s acting out. Maybe it’s a form of writer’s block. maybe it’s all of it. or none of it. whatever. But the mojo wasnt there. Thank God it came back for Music Complete. I hope it stays around for awhile.

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  4. I love this tune, a highlight of the album. Lost Sirens as an album would be better for me if they didn’t end it with a mix of ‘I told you so’ – it emphasizes the idea this album is an afterthought and filling it out with a below-average tune makes me less inclined to listen to it for some reason.
    And he’s singing “dogs come howl at your door” – what else would it be?

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  5. Thought this track was always a bit bland, at best it’s the atmosphere pale anemic twin of Guilty Partner. But I Bernard’s voice dies sound great on it. To enjoy this track I have to hear him front and centre when on so most tracks his voice fades into or go are over the music. Here it dominates.

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  6. This is Hooky’s farewell for me… unusually for later period NO, his bass properly shares the limelight with Barney’s vocals… and it happens to be one of Barney’s warmest vocal performances as well. Love it. Lots of room in the track. We should have had far more of this on the album previous to this collection of (juicy) leftovers.

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