S.C.U.M – 568 (Mojo covermount, 2011)

Various Artists 'Power, Corruption & Lies Covered' CD artwork

Power, Corruption & Lies Covered | mojo covermount cd | 2011

This track was recorded by S.C.U.M for a Mojo compilation celebrating the release of New Order‘s Power, Corruption & Lies thirty years before. Thomas Cohen‘s boys joined the likes of Errors, Walls and Zombie Zombie who recorded a track apiece for the compilation which, given the participants and the different music worlds they individually occupy, has a natural unevenness, unlike the sleek production of the New Order original.

‘568’ was never my personal favourite song, either in the New Order back catalogue or on Power, Corruption & Lies. It was, to me, ‘Blue Monday’-lite, with none of the classic moments that the track it was so similar to contained. Mercifully, I’m able to put that to one side with the S.C.U.M version, which dispenses with the shameless (but careless) bounce of the original and moves proceedings into a far darker place than New Order’s version suggested was possible. Cohen’s vocal is detached and sinister (but also strangely authentic compared with Bernard Sumner‘s original), while the serenity of the lengthy build up provides no clue to the musical handbrake-turn that the band are about to pull when grainy distortion and a twisted bass arpeggio swing into view. Their version is more linear, less stop-start, and winds up sounding a lot like ‘New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84)’ by Simple Minds.

Sadly this was probably among the last recordings S.C.U.M ever made and it’s yet another reminder of how disappointing it was that they called it quits.

I thought it high time to post this for two reasons: the occasion of Mute announcing the somewhat unexpected signing of New Order to the label that was revealed earlier this week, and also because occasionally I like to depress myself about S.C.U.M’s untimely demise.

(c) 2014 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence

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