Bad Lieutenant: Never Cry Another Tear

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Bad Lieutenant 

Written By:

Aidan Williamson

09th October 2009
At 18:19 GMT

5 comment(s)

The law of diminishing returns is the reason we cannot have perpetual motion, each millisecond an object is in motion, it loses its momentum.

Less a supergroup and more the third reincarnation of Joy Division, Bad Lieutenant very much fall victim to this principle. New Order were circles beneath Joy Division, and Bad Lieutenant are further down still. The simple truth is that Never Cry Another Tear is an album which screams "laurel resting", it takes no risks, no pretends to. Almost lethargic in its goals, it leaves the distinct impression that were it not for the fame of the band's integral members, nobody would pay this album the slightest amount of attention.

We're loathe to bring the sentiments of age-ism onto the field, but so rare is it for men in their middle-age to show the same tenacity for breaking boundaries and forging new paths that it's unavoidable in its mention. We can count on one hand the musicians who've stayed together for decades and still remained relevant, interesting and above all: dangerous.

There isn't a song on this album which doesn't perform the safety dance. Half-hearted arpeggios usually initiate the tracks which give way to jangly strums, the technically-impressive vocals echo in their relative emptiness while the percussion section do little to add any excitement. All the qualities which made the members' former projects stand out have been stripped, or whittled beyond recognition. No captivating basslines, no quiveringly resonant lyrics, just a neatly filled in exam form with all of the right answers, yet none of the evidence of working.

Stylistically, most of our allusions fall in the realm of Brit-pop and its precursors. Names like My Life Story, The Seahorses, The Who, Doves, R.E.M and Bernard Butler spring to mind, that's discounting the obvious list of bands of which our members - Phil Cunningham, Jake Evans, Tom Chapman, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner - have been a part of (Electronic, Monaco, Revenge, Joy Division and New Order to name but a few).

The songs themselves are like a thousand voices whispering in your mind, only they're all saying nothing. You can feel their presence, on occasion you feel on the precipice of discovering something enrapturing, but try as you might, you cannot pick a single thought out from the crowd.

Just another to add to the adult-contemporary pile alongside Oasis, Idlewild and Snow Patrol. All once great artists who wouldn't know risky if it were a Pro-Tools plug-in.

Rating:  6 / 10

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