Alarming news on the wires that New Order are readying some new tracks for mass consumption. Obviously the reanimated Manchester legends could be coming up with something a cut above the satisfactory rock they’ve churned out periodically over the last 20 years, but don’t bet your die-cut ‘Blue Monday’ sleeves on it.
That’s the thing about getting the old band back together – the creative impetus tends to wither when you’ve got all that lovely back catalogue to plunder. Since their reunion two years ago – four years after splitting permanently with Peter Hook – New Order have only seen fit to release ‘Lost Sirens’, a selection of out-takes from their last proper, lacklustre album ‘Waiting For The Sirens’ Call’. Hardly the action of a band overflowing with confidence at their capacity for sharp new material.
But maybe they’ll turn around and hit us full in the face with half a dozen new ‘Thieves Like Us’-es. That’d be good, but sourfaced pessimism says otherwise. History has made us feel like this.
The temptation to go through the motions and rake in the cash is usually paramount in a reformed band’s decision to kick back and not bother their arses with anything new. Don’t complain – when a deluded outfit like the Spice Girls kid themselves the fans don’t just want to hear ‘Wannabe’, they come up with some bilge like ‘Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)’. Oh, you don’t remember it?
The Police understood there wasn’t a cat’s chance in hell they could get back into the studio without killing each other and at least the Sex Pistols were characteristically honest about what they were back on the merry-go-round for: the lucre they knew was their due. We thank them for it. New anthems from ageing punks would’ve been excruciating. No offence, Billie Joe.
OK, a few dreamers might think it’d be nice if Led Zeppelin or The Stone Roses looked up from their bank balances every once in a while and recorded the odd new note – and perhaps they’d have a point. They could join forces and make the same record for real cost-effectiveness, but it’s a risk, isn’t it? It risks our hearts.
Because we really don’t want our favourite bands coming back and pissing on their lovely legacy. The Stone Roses might instinctively realise this, and the same goes for Pavement who knew we just wanted one more chance to see them. Pixies too (‘Bam Thwok’ notwithstanding).
Probably the most impressive comeback in recent years was Take That’s, commercially and – bear with us – artistically. They really did have a lot of hearts to trample on but found a way to move their sound on and embrace not only their own advancing years but those of their fans too. A neat trick, whatever you think of them.
It’s a swerve attempted to varying degrees of success by Britpop stalwarts Blur, Suede and Pulp. Damon Albarn and co. have leant mainly on the cash-cow model of band reformation, but the dribble of new stuff has come from a band sympathetic to its slightly grizzled chops. Pulp are dipping the old toe right now – we’ll see – and Suede have come up with an album exactly like the neon-stripped pop they were giving us 15 years ago. It’s a similar story with My Bloody Valentine’s expert time capsule ‘m b v’, leading us to another escape pod: CHANGE NOTHING.
But for every Suede or MBV playing it sensible, there’s a Verve coming up with an awesomely empty album, or a Jane’s Addiction misremembering themselves as a turned-up-to-11 pomp-rock band, or a Smashing Pumpkins mislaying the tunes in spectacular style, or a Boomtown Rats doing… oh God, let’s not even think about it. Actually, we didn’t really want music from them, full stop. Nor you, Cast.
When it comes down to it, you know the truth: the only reunited band we’re excited to hear new music from is MKS.