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There are rock tragedies, then there is Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. Indeed, John Peel made a point of mentioning Curtis in the same breath as John Lennon when he was reflecting on 1980.

But for Ian Curtis taking his own life at the age of 23, Joy Division would have been universally recognised as one of rock's great bands, instead of being seen as a cult group, like The Velvet Underground and Soft Machine. Albums Reviews

JOY DIVISION - Substance (1977-1980)


Substance 1977-1980
Substance 1977-1980
Joy Division

Worth the money just for 'Atmosphere' alone.

It's notable how Joy Division change through the years, from basic New Wave, in the shape of 'Warsaw', to the more brooding sound of 'Leaders Of Men' - which is more indicative of the sound to follow - with more trad. Joy stuff - à la 'Digital', 'Autosuggestion', 'Transmission' and 'She's Lost Control'. The latter two, with that slow, tantalising build up, and then into the crescendo - the hallmark of Joy Division's sound.

Trax like 'Atmosphere' just indicate what would have happened had not Ian Curtis taken his own life months later. It is such an awesomely beautiful, majestic piece - made all the more poignant by Ian's demise. 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' is another gem, and that softer, bass/electric guitar sound is taking shape in what we see in New Order's work today.

- Paul Rance/

This review originally appeared in Peace & Freedom in 1989. 

Control Film Review

JOY DIVISION CDs available from - in association with

'The Best Of Joy Division' The Best Of Joy Division ~ Joy Division

Joy Division - 'Closer' Closer ~ Joy Division
Closer: Remastered & Expanded

Joy Division - 'Unknown Pleasures' Unknown Pleasures ~ Joy Division
Unknown Pleasures: Remastered & Expanded
Unknown Pleasures: Remastered [VINYL]

Joy Division - 'Heart And Soul' Heart and Soul ~ Joy Division
Joy Division - 'Still' Still: Remastered & Expanded ~ Joy Division

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