Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

Pioneering U.K. electro/rock outfit New Order broke an eight-year silence with the well-received 2001 set "Get Ready," but that didn't make the prospect of writing material for the follow-up any easier.

In fact, according to bassist Peter Hook, "we sat down with absolutely nothing. The funny thing is, after all these years of doing it and knowing you have the ability, it shouldn't really frighten you, but it's quite daunting. You just sort of live in hope that each time you'll be able to do it."

From those humble beginnings came "Waiting for the Sirens' Call," released April 26 in North America through Warner Bros. The set hit international retail and download services March 28, enjoying strong debuts in Japan (No. 3 on the country's international chart) and the United Kingdom (No. 5).

Hook -- who is joined in the band by vocalist/guitarist Bernard Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris and new guitarist Phil Cunningham -- is the first to admit that the album simply updates New Order's classic sound with a modern production sensibility and a dash more guitar than would have been utilized in the 1980s.

But at a time when bands like Franz Ferdinand, the Killers and Interpol are revealing huge sonic debts to New Order (and its previous incarnation, Joy Division), "Sirens' Call" is a potent reminder of how artistically valid the group remains.

"With an album finished and eight songs ready for the next one -- which is probably the most prolific we've ever been -- you can't even imagine for one minute what it was like to sit there with nothing," Hook says. "After being so nervous about 'Get Ready' and how the comeback was going to be perceived, with this one, we got feedback and we were happy people were happy to see us back. We went into it feeling much more positive."

That attitude is reflected in the music here, highlights of which include jubilant first single "Krafty," the gorgeous chorus of the regret-tinged "Turn" and "Morning Night and Day," Sumner's amusing chronicle of a night of excess. Ana Manitronic guests on "Jetstream," which has already been earmarked as the second single in the United Kingdom, where her group, the Scissor Sisters, have exploded in popularity.

The band's enduring influence was celebrated at February's NME Awards, where it was honored with the Godlike Genius trophy.

Hook is thrilled New Order is still making music that inspires its members, much less a new generation of listeners. "To me, the music has never evolved from Joy Division, because it feels the same," he says. "Every song feels like a challenge, and it's wonderful when you get to the end of it and you've pulled it off."

The group is supporting "Waiting for the Siren's Call" with several international appearances. In the United States, the group commanded a May 1 slot at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., and is playing one-offs in Oakland, Calif.; Chicago; and New York. The band will spend the summer playing major festivals in about a dozen European markets and will perform at Japan's Fuji Rock Festival in late July.





Excerpted from the May 7, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.

For information about ordering a copy of the issue, click here.