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Bad Lieutenant: Sink or Swim/Dynamo (2009) September 30, 2009

Posted by sjroby in Music.
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Bad Lieutenant: Sink or Swim/Dynamo

Bad Lieutenant: Sink or Swim/Dynamo

We’re back in another period in which a New Order reunion seems extremely unlikely, so it’s up to the side projects to keep us going. Bad Lieutenant is Bernard Sumner’s latest. and though the lineup is different, it doesn’t sound all that far removed from where his previous side band, Electronic, ended up: melodic Britpop guitar rock.

It may seem a bit anticlimactically normal for someone who was part of Joy Division and New Order to make such conventional rock music, but it’s well crafted, it’s still Barney singing, and it’s not really a departure from some of the songs on the last couple of New Order and Electronic albums.

“Sink or Swim” particularly echoes the guitar side of New Order, a midtempo tune with electric and acoustic guitars (Peter Hook’s bass is sorely missed; the bass is anonymous by comparison). The chorus has a decent hook, and after the bridge, some backing vocals make the song a bit bigger, catchier, and more generally engaging. Three listens in and I’m liking this a lot, and hoping the album (due in a couple weeks) is as good.

“Dynamo”… well, if this were a physical 7” single, it’d be the b-side, not the a-side. There’s a pulsing keyboard line in the background, but it’s less reminiscent of Sumner’s earlier bands than of the Who. It’s not as catchy as “Sink or Swim,” and the occasional little electronic sound effects sound out of place on a song that, with just a little less inspiration, could be a throwaway Oasis tune. Very classic rock ending: harmonica, then more of a Who sound, then the guitars crash back in and the drums pound away and Barney doo-doo-doos and repeats “whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do” a few times, then back to “Won’t Get Fooled Again” for the last few seconds. It’s a lot less impressive than “Sink or Swim.”

So: one good song, one meh song. When the album shows up on eMusic (I assume it will, because the single did) I’ll download it and hope for more of the former.

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