While I’m bunging up various reviews, here’s an extended version of my recent review of the Bad Lieutenant album that was supposed to go on the Clash website but, for some reason, the small version from the magazine appeared instead.
Never Cry Another Tear
New Order having dribbled to a drawn out, petulant and depressing conclusion, Bernard Sumner now finds himself fronting the less excitingly named, Bad Lieutenant. Completing the group are Phil Cunningham, ex-Marion and latter day New Order guitarist, and newcomer Jake Evans, described by Sumner as “a gifted new singer and guitar player.” Sounding like a tuneful Danny from Embrace singing like Jimi from Doves, his presence is not breathtaking, but he provides an interesting counterpoint to one of the most recognisable voices in modern music.
The album is, largely speaking, a collection of mid-paced adult contemporary rock, perfectly suited to Bernard’s drunk-tramp-with-burnt-feet dancing style. The slightly tiresome acoustic chugging favoured by Sumner dominates proceedings, but ‘Never Cry Another Tear’ gets interesting when it deviates from this pattern. ‘Dynamo’ features an outrageous plundering of The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, with a repeated jittery electronic sound that must only just be on the legally deniable side of original songwriting.
While oh-so-very Radio 2, ‘Runaway’ is a rather charmingly pristine pop song, which would likely be a chart-shagging behemoth were it sung by the lispy one in Take That. Album closer, ‘Head Into Tomorrow’, is a stirring, everything and the kitchen sink, indie anthem sung by Evans and a surprisingly decent way to bow out.
Sumner is notoriously crap at lyrics and, were this album used for a drinking game based around hackneyed clichés, everyone would be absolutely smashed within minutes. In a so bad it’s borderline genius fashion, ‘Poisonous Intent’ actually contains the phrase “so hit the road, Jack!”
‘Never Cry Another Tear’ is a pleasant enough listen, with just enough little hooks to keep things interesting. Sadly, the one Hook that might make it truly worthwhile is nowhere to be seen.
Written in August 2009