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Joy Division Unknown Pleasures Collector's Edition

  • Words: Ken Taylor
  • Label: Rhino
  • XLR8R Rating: 10/10

At the end of 2007, there isn't much to say about Joy Division that hasn't been said already. If there were, it was probably broached in the Ian Curtis biopic, Control. But the reissued double-pack Collector's Edition of the band's Unknown Pleasures, their first album (Still and Closer have also been re-released), does shed a bit more light behind Joy Division's dark exterior. No doubt, tracks like "Day of the Lords" and "Candidate" are deeply emotional, not-terribly-happy tunes, but when coupled with a frenetic live performance from Manchester's Factory club from 1979 (on the set's second disc), something altogether different takes over–something that the band took with them after Ian Curtis' death, when they became New Order–and it's as energetic, forward-charging, and–dare we say–upbeat as post-punk ever got. One listen to "Dead Souls," "Shadowplay," and "She's Lost Control" live, and it becomes hard to swallow the line that Joy Division was at all a depressing band. Pack the collection with Peter Saville's timeless cover designs and Jon Savage's insightful liner notes, and you've got one of the finest reissue sets of all time. Period.

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