Saturday, June 14, 2014

Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Saturday.

Tomorrow (June 15th) marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Unknown Pleasures, the debut album from the UK band Joy Division. The group consisted of Ian Curtis (lead vocals), Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboard), Peter Hook (bass and vocals) and Stephen Morris (drums). This 1979 release went to number 82 in Australia, number 71 in the UK and number 1 in New Zealand.

Side one begins with the tight, up-tempo "Disorder".

"Day of the Lords" does some interesting things with tempo shifts, subtle but very effective.

The grim and dark mood continues with the methodical "Candidate".

"Insight" starts out distant before picking up a steady pace. The sound effects in the background through out are hit and miss, for me.

The first half closes out with "New Dawn Fades".

Side two starts with "She's Lost Control", a track with a slight Middle Eastern influence musically.

"Shadowplay" is next.

As I listened to "Wilderness", my mind kept picking pieces of it and wondering how the song might sound as cow-punk song, done by a group like Wilco or Rank and File.

"Interzone" cranks up the energy level, a nice change of pace by this point in the album.

The original vinyl recording ends with slow and self-analyzing "I Remember Nothing". At nearly six minutes in length, it is the longest track of the group.

This was my first listen to Unknown Pleasures. Back in 1979, this was not one I would have gotten into (too dark for my fourteen year old tastes). But as the 80's progressed I would have been intrigued by it. I guess it just shows that Joy Division was ahead of their time with this debut. I can see how they might have influenced some groups like Sonic Youth, for example. This is an album that I would consider revisiting again in the future.

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