Northern gloom: 2 Southern stomp: 1 Melody Maker 16/2/80
Live review by Chris Bohn

Northern gloom: 2
Southern stomp: 1

University of London Union
Ah, the horror, the horror... where's Colonel Kurtz? Somehow the 
demented Brando figure is there, spiritually leading the new dance.
Like him, today's purveyors have witnessed the failure of wanton
destruction, as epitomized by punk, and in turn have retreated 
  But whereas he translated his thoughts into some nightmare
paradise of his own creation, recent bands' introspections manifest
themselves in tight, uneasy rhythms, simultaneously despondent and
obsessively exhilarating. Coming too late to lose themselves in 
furiously simple thrashes, they've composed out of that same 
frustration something more complex, but equally immediate.
  Joy division are masters of this gothic gloom, and they're getting
even better at it. Since they played London last November with the
Buzzcocks, they've added new songs, more vigorous than their
predecessors. Less colourful now, they're getting closer to the 
despair that's been the core of their work thus far, and they're
honing in on it by twisting purplish plots round slower rhythms,
bringing the bass even further to the fore and allowing Ian Curtis's
knotted-brow singing greater expression.
  In other hands their songs would collapse disastrously, but 
Curtis's controlled balladeering makes lines like "I remember/When 
we were young" (from "Insight") one of the saddest statements in 
pop, which is after all, the province of the young, and that sung to 
the sweetest, most melancholic tune, too.
  Perversely, they didn't play the great last single, 
"Transmission", but the next, "Love Will Tear Us Apart", was
tantalizingly aired; featuring synthesizer more heavily to
lightening effect, it breaks away from the claustrophobia into 
clearer surrounds. Optimism on the way? Whatever, I'm prepared to

Back to Joy Division/New Order

Back to Contents