Bad Lieutenant Never Cry Another Tear
When New Order came back from an extended hiatus in the early ’00s, its material wasn’t as strong as the songs from its ’80s/’90s heyday, but it was still a kick to hear that New Order sound: a propulsive mix of buzzing electronics, livewire guitars, and Bernard Sumner’s beautifully imperfect, compellingly human voice. The same dynamic pertains on Never Cry Another Tear, the debut album by Bad Lieutenant, a new band consisting of Sumner, late-period New Order member Phil Cunningham, guitarist Jake Evans, and a few sympathetic musicians (including, on some tracks, New Order drummer Stephen Morris and Blur bassist Alex James). Though Bad Lieutenant is more guitar-driven, it largely follows the ’00s New Order model of breezy songs pumped up with as much studio frippery as a single CD track can hold. Faux-strings? House piano? Dub effects? Arena-ready guitar solos? All in full effect on Never Cry Another Tear. The song “Dynamo” even wraps with a synth-and-drums duet that openly apes The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” There’s very little here that fans of Sumner’s prior work absolutely need to hear, but he and his mates appear to be having fun, and their spirit is pretty infectious. Anyone looking for an approximation of arty ’80s dance-pop will be well served by tapping an original source.