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New Order, Lost Sirens (Rhino)

One of the pleasures of seeing New Order play live last year was the reminder they are first and foremost a band.

That fact has been overlooked in the last few years thanks to the ongoing row between estranged bassist Peter Hook and the rest.

Whether the appearance of "lost" album Lost Sirens will be enough to shift the focus back to the music is debateable. Consisting of eight tracks recorded when the band was still on speaking terms, it's an immaculately produced piece of fluff, the sound of men who make music because they can rather than out of any driving need.

The first few moments of opener I'll Stay With You, as guitar lines mesh with electronics, rouses an immediate nostalgic high, but the thrill of it all fades over the course of the album.

It's not terrible, just not thrilling, coasting along familiar tracks with even Hooky's bass playing sounding more slick than savage. Only the last track, I Told You, offers a glimpse of something novel. A Velvet Underground drone with a Rowetta-esque soul holler, it manages to do what New Order in their pomp did with off-the-cuff ease. It surprises you.

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