Release Date: Nov 10, 2009
Record label: Triple Echo
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Alternative
With Peter Hook's departure in 2007, prospects for new material from New Order were looking increasingly dim, so the surprisingly workmanlike Bernard Sumner formed Bad Lieutenant to record his new songs. Sumner looked for help to various sources: latter-day New Order keyboardist Phil Cunningham; bassist Tom Chapman; a young Manchester head named Jake Evans for guitar, vocals, and a little songwriting; plus, on a few tracks, bassist Alex James of Blur and New Order drummer Stephen Morris. Sumner can't help but recall New Order as soon as he puts pen to paper or opens his mouth, but there are slight differences between this material and what he's been known for.
It was easy to get excited at the time, but in retrospect there was something disappointing about New Order's noughties reunion. The albums they released certainly weren't bad, but never threatened to scale the heights of Technique or Low Life. The perennially noisome figure of Billy Corgan was involved.
It’s tough going when a band, especially a new band, is defined primarily by what it is not. However, this situation seems to have been Bad Lieutenant’s destiny from the moment its formation was announced. What you have here, of course, is New Order without bassist/badass Peter Hook, whose falling out with Bernard Sumner broke up that band. Sumner, Stephen Morris, and Phil Cunningham, step right up.
Warning: if you're the sort who thinks that judging bands on their own merits means avoiding reference to the previous work of their personnel then look away, because it is impossible to make any sort of appraisal of Bad Lieutenant without numerous references to New Order. The facts: Bad Lieutenant comprise three members of New Order's most recent line-up, namely Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris (making several appearances on drums) and latter day additional axeman Phil Cunningham. They are joined by newcomer Jake Evans, with Alex James of Blur a guest.
New Order may be gone, but it'll take a while before any of their members' follow-up bands feel like more than side projects. A group like Bad Lieutenant-- including Bernard Sumner and latter-day Order member Phil Cunningham, with Stephen Morris also on hand-- is always going to be compared, rather than considered. In that sense-- and that sense only-- it's a good thing Never Cry Another Tear is such an unassuming album: It's so breezily unambitious as to make the comparison feel unfair, even when you can't avoid it.