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Unknown Pleasures


Price: £6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
Does not apply to gift orders. See Terms and Conditions for important information about costs that may apply for the MP3 version in case of returns and cancellations.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 Oct. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: LONDON RECORDS
  • ASIN: B000042O1H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 892 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Disorder
2. Day Of The Lords
3. Candidate
4. Insight
5. New Dawn Fades
6. She's Lost Control
7. Shadowplay
8. Wilderness
9. Interzone
10. I Remember Nothing

Product Description

BBC Review

The duochrome Peter Saville cover of this first Joy Division album speaks volumes. Its white on black lines reflect a pulse of power, a surge of bass, and raw angst. If the cover doesn't draw you in, the music will.

Following the first kick of drums and bass come the vocals!'I've been waiting for a guy to come and take me by the hand'. This young band was the 'guy' to take post punk music by the hand and lead it to 80s electronica. Joy Division were unlike anything that came before them and anything that has ever come after them.

The album is at times aggressive: 'And All God's angels beware. And all you judges beware, sons of chance take good care. For all the people out there, I'm not afraid anymore' Ian Curtis intones on 'Insight' lapsing, at times, into despondency. Unknown Pleasures is always brooding and always intense.

Joy Division were 4 boys from 1970s Salford. They took their name from the literary prostitution wing of a Nazi concentration camp and they took their inspiration from the familiar atmosphere of rundown post-industrial estates. Deep heaving baritones come out of a man so small he'd be blown away by the gust of his own voice. Together Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris created something approaching pure energy. On 'Shadowplay' the guitars launch into a dimension reminiscent of the sonic dimensions that Bowie and Eno dwelt in, in the late 70s. The band's sound is echo-y, cavernous, but thanks to Factory Records producer, Martin Hannett, never empty. By adding sound effects such as breaking glass, deep breaths, and footsteps he brings the music out of the mental torture of the lead singer and into the real world. It's these details that keep you with it and make it feel more measured than their manic live performances. For this he was initially resented by the band.

The classic, 'She's Lost Control' builds intensity as threatening growling is replaced with manic crescendo. It's simple, it's terse. 'Day Of The Lords' feels like it should accompany an Edgar Allen Poe tale as pulsing drums and howling guitars penetrate the air towards an unknown conclusion.

Unknown Pleasure borders on nihilism, but is pregnant with expectation. And like Bowie's Low - once heard its never forgotten. It's like going to the doctor and having your ears syringed. This is a sound that's ready to explode. And it still feels personal. --Susie Goldring

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Gershwin on 14 Mar. 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's quite simple: if you want to listen to Joy Division's finest hour, then look no further than this, their first album.

Like many fantastic albums, this is not 'immediate', nor is it particularly accessible or masses friendly, nor should it be. Most life-affirming albums grow on people. I estimate that most people will have to listen to this album roughly five times before they start to appreciate all of it's many details, subtleties and nuances, lovingly arranged like some aural landscape.

It's starts off with 'Disorder', in which Ian Curtis declares that he has been waiting for a guide to come and take him by the hand, setting the lost and helpless tone of the entire album. Disorder is a fast and emotionally charged song, climaxing beautifully with Ian Curtis hollering "I've got the spirit, don't lose the feeling", thus encapsulating the fears and attitudes of so many other intelligent young songwriters, bubbling with emotion.

'Day Of The Lords' is an almost perfect example of foreboding and fear, perfectly encapsulated in both it's lyrics and musical sound. It is rife with atmosphere, vibrant and alive, yet painfully unhappy. The desperation with which Curtis demandingly shouts: "Where will it end?" is almost tangible. This is probably the most powerful song on the album.

'Candidate' continues on in similarly bleak fashion, nonchalantly describing the "blood on your fingers", whilst the hazy, threatening music compliments the lyrics perfectly. It is difficult to describe exactly how effectively Joy Division have used sound to create atmosphere on this album, and it is probably even more difficult to achieve.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Nov. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Deepest apologies for the cheesy title of this review. It is a characteristic of those never ending compilations of just about every genre of music. The problem is that when it comes to Joy Divisions debut "Unknown Pleasures" it is true. Many would rightly make a case for the Smiths "The Queen is Dead", The Stone Roses eponymous debut, Oasis finest moment "Definitely Maybe", The Happy Mondays "Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches" or any number of albums by the Fall or New Order. The titles show that as a city Manchester has been peerless in churning out of the greatest UK bands on a conveyor belt as productive as the one in Wales that produces outside half's. But time after time its Joy Divisions dark masterpiece that is pulled out of the CD rack and which haunts everything which follows.

Accepting some basic facts about the album makes "Unknown Pleasures" great before the vinyl is placed on the turntable. It was released on 14 June 1979, through Factory Records and produced by the lunatic come genius of Martin Hannett. Factory boss Tony Wilson the posh situationist invested the whole of his savings account into the first run of 10,000 and championed the band like an intellectual football supporter. He was later affectionately played for laughs by Steve Coogan in "24 Hour Party People", yet no one can distract from Wilsons achievement at Factory. Then there is the startlng pulsed image of the Peter Saville and lest we forget those haunting black and white photo's at the time from Dutch photographer Anton Corbjin who later made his big film debut with "Control" the biopic of the band.

It is almost superfluous to review the music. Its part of the air we breath and nothing since by any band has come close to the sepulchral gravity captured on this album.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Jun. 2000
Format: Audio CD
Dark, brooding, caustrophobic...genius. Joy division's debut is their masterpiece: at once driving, powerful music, and at the same moment vunerable, withering music of the soul. Day of the Lords and Shadowplay are examples of Joy division's soundscapes that borrowed from the previous decade's nihilsim and created the sound of being alone and desolate. The stark cover, abrasive bass lines and otherworldy production portray the world of Ian Curtis as a man whom had looked through life, and not liked what he had seen.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By P. M. Knight on 13 Oct. 2004
Format: Audio CD
Are Joy Division the most important band of all time? Most probably. And for me 'Unknown Pleasures' has to be their finest hour. Unashamedly bleak, stark and tense this album really leads you firmly into the darker recesses of the human psyche, if you think that Ian Curtis is purely singing about himself then you are missing the point, these are hymns to all human experience if only you choose to open your mind to the necessary thought processes and let the songs do their job. Musically I will admit that this may not be an album that you can listen to every day but I think to do so would cheapen it, this is not music to pop on the iPod on the way to work, this demands your undivided attention. There is so much beauty here, it is indeed intensely dark but Ian Curtis' sincerity and honesty are breath-taking, the man was really laying himself open, using his own troubled mind almost like a map for the rest of us to study and apply. I've been listening to this album for roughly 20 years and it still sounds unbelievably fresh, it can still bring unbridled joy and induce anxiety in equal measures. I have no desire to separate individual tracks for special mention as I honestly believe the album has to be appraised as a whole single unit and I find it difficult to pick out any snippet of lyrics because they all need each other to make sense but I guess I do love the lines 'Different colours, different shades - over each mistake we made - directionless so plain to see - a loaded gun won't set you free'. Just buy this album. Infact buy the 'Heart and Soul' box-set as well, okay all the 'Unknown Pleasures' tracks are in the box but you'll need a separate copy. Genius is a word that gets thrown around far too easily but this is the real deal, genuine and true genius.
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