DEATH DISCO Sounds 14/7/79
Album review by Dave McCullough


JOY DIVISION 'Unknown Pleasures'
(Factory Records Fact 10)*****

  Andrew looked out through the misty, murky curtains and
saw that morning was on it's way like a messenger of doom. The
street-lamps were still flickering but the pale light of another day
was climbing majestically above the nightime gloom.
  He turned back into the room. For three days he had been 
here, a prisoner of choice wrapped up in a room of permanent,
chilling, deathly silent nightmares. The radio cacked in a chaotic 
disorder, pillows lay strewn on the carpet like fluffy corpses, the
clock ticked with knowing assurance. A newspaper three days old 
was on the floor engulfing something bloody and thick.
  He picked up a record sleeve. The sleeve was completely black 
save the inscription of small white waves on the front and the tiny 
writing of 'Joy Division' - 'Unknown Pleasures' on the reverse.
The thing was blank and inviting so he walked dizzily to the 
record player that sat by the bed and placed the stylus down on 
the hard, liquorice black plastic.
  'Outside' was the title of the first side of songs. 'Disorder' 
opened the side. Clicking electronic drums hissed and spat, a bass
rumbled in, fat and heavy, a guitar pinged trebly into a weaving,
jittery pattern of ragged chords. 'Day Of The Lords' followed,
the music black and unworldly, spreading images of 
unaccountable evil and destruction; "Where will it end?" that 
full-blooded, eerie voice screamed hoarsely. The voice reminded
Andrew of Jim Morrison at his best.
  "I tried to get to you... I tried to get to you... I tried."
The next song, 'Candidate' flickered mystically to a close, the
guitar and bass going further and deeper into the sound mix like 
great black claws searching diabolically into the record player.
Andrew looked out the window again. Still no-one appeared, 
there was not a sound outside. Even the birds had gone forever...
  'Insight' began, the bass trickling pointedly along the tale of
despondent remembrance. It's funny how we always look back,
Andrew thought. Our lives are one long tunnel of nostalgic 
longing. "I remember...", the song emphasised the gloom of 
the time, the music rolling like some stark answer to the fate of 
what was punk, like a memorial to something real and furious.
The songs were short but as taut as the sliding bass-lines with
seething emotion. Have these people lived as I have, thought 
  He lit up a cigarette and turned the thing over to the second 
side. The mess on the floor still worried him... 
  This was the 'Inside' of Joy Division, it said. 'She's lost 
Control' was the song. Aaah! They DO know, he mused! Electric
drums hissed sarcastically over the wailing, flailing, fuming
guitar, the song climbing ominously to a climax, the Joy Division
technique, it seemed to him, an r'n'b rooted adventure into
primitive ascending emotiveness whereby the song is finally 
brought to a tense, embittered conclusion.
  "To the centre of the city at night, waiting for you," the 
phrase of 'Shadowplay' rolled madly round his brain, the
gladiator guitar interplay cutting a sheet metal path through the
room's half-light semi-consciousness. 'Wilderness' was black as 
the devil, a dirgeful streak of vengeful, quite beautiful melancholy
on a plateau of total desolation. Still the mess remained...
  'Interzone' spluttered like rifles across the border, a jagged
rock and roll panorama of noise. "Violent more violent his hand 
cracks the chair..." 'The Waiting Room' mournfully rejoices in
the violence of the place, ending the album and the brief image of
aural despair with perfect hopelessness. A rich dark impression, 
thought Andrew.
  'Unknown Pleasures' was taken off the turntable and placed 
carefully back in it's stiff black shell, like a walking, talking 
image of Death settling back nito it's tomb once again. Still the 
bloody mess of broken bones, he thought.
  Andrew walked to the bathroom. He was humming 'She's Lost 
Control' to himself when the razor slashed ecstatically like a 
hungry vampire.
						  DAVE McCULLOUGH             

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