This is probably my favourite album ever made. It's simply beautiful. Recorded shortly before Ian Curtis' suicide in May 1980 - and ironically turning him into an icon to this day - it features the best work Joy Division ever made in this form. New Order, much as they tried, never quite measured up, even twenty-six years later.
Greatly assisted by the genius of Martin Hannett and his breathtaking production, the band are on fine, fatalistic form. Ian Curtis is at his lyrical best, especially on the closer, 'Decades,' but the real star here is Bernard Sumner. Always an underrated guitar player, (check out the messy solos on early Warsaw tune 'Failures') on this album he unleashes screeches, stabs of pure noise and wiry single note lines over the top of Peter Hook's ever-chiming bass. He also does a sterling job sitting at the keyboard, playing the album out with his wistful yet heartbreaking line in 'Decades' closing passage.
This is an extraordinary, exceptional album that's simultaneously depressing due to its circumstance and uplifting due to its beauty. Any New Order fan, or indeed any fan of music, is missing out if they don't purchase this astonishing, chilling example of why Ian Curtis is still missed.