Unknown Pleasures (1979) hit the lofty heights of Number 71 in the U.K. Album Charts, the U.K. album buying public are so clued up (sarcasm).
One of only two studio albums by Joy Division that should be truly treasured. From the now cult sleeve to, well, everything about the record, it is an album with few peers.
Disorder with its swirls but solid sound is evidence of how quickly the band developed from their early E.P. Warsaw.
Day Of The Lords is a stunner of a track. Broody. A menace brews yet holds off. Lyrics that will conjur and stir individual imaginations. This is the room, the start of it all, no portrait so fine, only sheets on the wall.
Candidate slows Unknown Pleasures further still. Densely atmospheric. Forget the post punk label. This is art in music.
Insight hints very slightly at the electronic direction New Order would pick up on. Looping slow whoops pushed firmly aside by a sickeningly great Ian Curtis vocal. Sheets of electronica and that bass from Peter Hook.
As good as Unknown Pleasures has been thus far, it is about to get torn down and a bench mark to end all bench marks is set.
New Dawn Fades that intro. Sparse drums beat then one of the most evocative bass lines I have ever heard. The space and room in the music lets your mind flow. A hush vocal from Ian Curtis. A soft washing guitar. The drums pick up so slowly that you initially don’t even realise. Before you know it the track has built up into a powerhouse of sound. Bass and vocal lock and neck hairs flex. Astonishing.
She’s Lost Control from its electronic style and bass almost in your face sound is an accessible track. The flutter of the music paints the image of Ian Curtis dancing in your mind.
Shadowplay is another stand-out track. What an intro. Lyrics become poetry “the assassins all grouped in four lines dancing on the floor”. Searing guitar from Bernard Sumner. The band are a unit and a very powerful one at that.
Wilderness is more soundscape. Dreamy. Somehow it goes all over the place yet still sounds ordered.
Interzone picks up faster. That bass. Damn. The vocal sounds more like earlier Joy Division – this is not necessarily a bad thing.
I Remember Nothing may make you jump out of your skin. So quiet, then thoses crashes. The longest track on the album closes the LP in fitting style. Moody. Gothic.
I do prefer Closer but Unknown Pleasures is still one of the best albums I have ever heard. A band that left a real legacy…