This is an emotionally draining album, straight from the broken, depressed mind of Ian Curtis, who on another note looks a bit like Elijah Wood. Most people already know the tale of Joy Division and Ian Curtis, a band whose singer suffered epileptic fits regularly on stage and at the age of twenty-five took his own life. Now I'm not one to give a band better letter grades because their singer died tragically, I hate Sublime, Drowning Pool, and am not too fond of INXS. Listening to this album it's not at all a surprise that Curtis killed himself, the album is dark and devoid of almost any hope. But let's not focus on Curtis, but the band as a whole. The sound of Bernard Sumner's guitar is stripped down to a skeleton, brittle and unpolished. Peter Hook's booming bass would later become a staple in post-punk and new waveish bands for years to come, and Stephen Morris's drums are loud and slow, pacing the music. Ian Curtis is still the star of the show though, and is a very engaging frontman, his droning, broken voice demands your attention.
Let's get down to what matters though, the tunes. The opener Disorder is an excellent opener, and ends with Curtis screaming "I've got the spirit, but I'm losing feeling" and it really gets the blood pumping. There is not a sucker in the bunch though, and every song is excellent, of course some moreso than others. Insight is particularly noteworthy, as is She's Lost Control which may or may not be about Curtis's epilepsy. If you're looking for lots of synths in this album ala New Order, you may be a bit disappointed as the music is alot rougher. The lyrics are excellent but I'm not going to comment on them much. Whether Unknown Pleasures or Closer is better I'm not sure, because their both almost flawless.