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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Finale
Although different in most respects from any band before or since, an aspect that Joy Division did share with others was that of the difficulty of attempting to capture in a recording studio (at least some of) the emotional impact of their live performances. Perhaps not surprisingly, this was only ever partially achieved and, for me, Closer probably gets nearest to this...
Published on 9 Oct 2012 by Keith M

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13 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art and Beauty Butchered and Destroyed!
God, what is the point of releases like this! Remember we used to think the music industry was clueless and not interested in music in decades long gone. And that punk was meant to change things. Well dream on; things are worse than they ever have been with horrid little money making exercises like this.

The guy from Croatia hit the nail on the head in his...
Published on 5 Oct 2008 by Mr. G. Hassan


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Finale, 9 Oct 2012
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Although different in most respects from any band before or since, an aspect that Joy Division did share with others was that of the difficulty of attempting to capture in a recording studio (at least some of) the emotional impact of their live performances. Perhaps not surprisingly, this was only ever partially achieved and, for me, Closer probably gets nearest to this goal. Whilst Unknown Pleasures is undoubtedly a seminal recording, Martin Hannett's production, despite obviously be designed to sound dull, was just too dull (or 'strangled', as Bernard Sumner says in the Closer CD sleeve interview), and the innate passion and power of these songs (I'm thinking here particularly of the likes of Disorder, Day Of The Lords, New Dawn Fades, She's Lost Control, Shadowplay - all live highpoints) struggled unsuccessfully to shine through. Closer, on the other hand, does (for me, at least) go some way to conveying a 'truer' Joy Division sound, certainly clearer and with the instruments given a more 'trebly' sound (although, arguably, a mite too trebly, particularly on the 2007 remix), and with Ian Curtis' vocals given a somewhat overdue increased prominence.

Song-wise, of course, it could hardly get any better. OK, maybe the inclusion of Dead Souls, Atmosphere and Transmission would have taken it to a still higher level, but Closer's songs, whilst including some that had been in the band's live repertoire for some time such as Colony, 24 Hours and (regular live encore) The Atrocity Exhibition, also included the more recent, maybe even more sophisticated(?), songwriting of A Means To An End, Passover, Decades, Heart And Soul and The Eternal. Indeed, the latter three songs even built on the novelty (adopted by the band I think for the first time on the single Love Will Tear Us Apart) of using keyboards, and Messrs. Curtis and Sumner managed to integrate this new (nicely rudimentary) dimension into the band's sound pretty much seamlessly. Of course, given where the band (and particularly Curtis) were at at the time of recording, it is not surprising (and with titles like Means To An End, The Eternal, Passover and Isolation, it's pretty obvious) that there is a theme of melancholy running through the music, but this, and the superb sense of melody and dynamics, merely serve to heighten the emotional power of Closer.

In order to get a better appreciation of how the band sounded live, the 2007 remastered version of Closer includes a recording of a February 1980 University Of London Union gig (complete with bum notes and all!). This is actually a pretty good quality recording and contains particularly memorable versions of the songs Dead Souls, Glass, These Days (on which Hooky misses repeated cues to come in - or more likely the PA just failed) and Digital. Listening again, it really does bring back memories of standing in the salubrious surroundings of ULU (as I did for this gig) and taking in what was one of the greatest live bands I've ever seen.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars redefining what music could do, 12 Oct 2007
By 
Mr. M. A. Reed (Argleton, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Joy Division have recently been at the hands of a critical resurgence, aided by the Anton Corbijn film "Control", the "Joy Division" documentary, the namechecks from the large number of up-and-coming-bands who will never be as good as Joy Division, and the recent messy split of NewOrder. This then, is an ideal opportunity for the band to rectify the unsatisfactory original CD releases, and follow the latest trend for deluxe editions by adding extraneous live material (one can hope that a similar attempt occurs with the New Order releases to ensure the more obscure ends of their catalogue are made available in digital form).

"Closer", the second LP, and Joy Divisions final actual album, came a mere 11 months on, but the difference isn't merely time, but distance. Since the debut, the band have moved on from the frozen wastes to a glacial desperation. Curtis - plagued by ill-health, domestic strife and infidelity, has become ever more entrenched in his battle against life. Musically, Hannett's production is stronger than the debut - the drums no longer sound like blocks of ice but a fierce, clipped military power keeps the rhythms barely in restraint. As was the bands preference this album does not feature the 'big hit' singles (buy a copy of "Substance" or "Heart And Soul" to get those), but instead 9, seperate standalone tracks which will be barely familiar to the casual fan. Opening with the escalating "Atrocity Exhibition", the album - and it is an album, a suite of songs designed to operate together as a cohesive experience, not just a bunch of songs in some dumb order - move the listener through all manner of emotional crevices before the final strata. Clearly, this is the song of a band at some kind of precipe. It's easy to retrospectively fit this, and claim it be Curtis' suicide note, but in reality, like "In Utereo" it's no such thing. It's the sound of the eternal struggle between what we want life to be, and what it actually is. The album draws to a close with the harrowing trilogy of "Twenty Four Hours", "The Eternal", and "Decades" : as if the fight has gone out towards the end of the record, the music draws to a haunting keyboard motif that gently fades into nothingness. Possibly in fact, the most poignant closing song on any album of all time.

As per "Unknown Pleasures", the second disc contains a live recording (taken from London's ULU during the Closer sessions), and reflects the bands ethos of the time. A well honed, near-fierce aural assault played by committed, passionate, troubled men. As one could expect, the sound of the time, and the limitations of the technology are such that the live experience doesn't reflect the latest in audio standards, but captures the spirit and feeling of the time (as much as I can tell) accurately. The recording is by no means a stunning example of audio fidelity, but it provides a snapshot of an evening in the groups life. Good value for money, definitely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sound of a 1000 raincoats, 6 Oct 2009
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
If Unknown Pleasures was Joy Division at their most obsessively, carefully focused, ten songs yet of a piece, Closer was the sprawl, the chaotic explosion that went every direction at once.

Who knows what the next path would have been had Ian Curtis not chosen his end?

But steer away from the rereading of his every lyric after that date to dechiper any hiddenn meanings. Treat Closer as simply the next album and you will realise just how Joy Division's power had grown and matured.

Joy Division were essentialy a producers band Martin Hannett seems to have taken as many chances as the band itself throughout -- differing mixes, differing atmospheres, new twists and turns define the entirety of Closer,

Joy Division were at the height of their powers on Closer, equaling and arguably bettering the astonishing Unknown Pleasures, that's how accomplished the four members were. Rock, however defined, rarely seems and sounds so important, so vital, and so impossible to resist or ignore as here
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wallow in the melancholic wonder!, 25 Mar 2009
By 
A. Barrett "Yellow Army!!" (Watford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Joy Division are probably an acquired taste and are a bit like Marmite in that you either love them or hate them with not much in between. If you like introverted, deep, meaningful and an insight of what a depressive would write and record just before his death (Ian Curtis) then you are not really getting into what this album is like. The remastered version brings to life the old vinyl and I still love this record. Heart and Soul is my favourite JD track and started side two of the original record with that fantastic drum and (synth?) bass fade in. There are times when you can be in the wrong mood to enjoy this record but if you are in the right one, sit back and wallow in the melancholic wonder.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Pleasures, 14 Jan 2014
By 
William J. Fox "KillerBill" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
(Collector's Edition reviewed)
In my opinion, the best of the three official albums. It opens with the uncompromising bass and drums of "Atrocity Exhibition". The percussion is speared by tortured guitars and then Curtis sings: "This is the way, step inside..." It is surprisingly danceable, like many of their songs. If you hadn't realised that Curtis was a fan of J.G. Ballard then you have missed something very important about is lyrics and ideas.

"Isolation" is slightly different from many Joy Division songs because it includes a synthesiser for lead instead of guitar. In hindsight it is possible to pick up on Ian's despair from his lyrics although sometimes I find the titles more interesting than the accompanying verses. Again there is a good dance beat.

The pace slows for "Passover" and we are back to bass, drums and high pitched lead guitar. In some ways a lighter track until the lyrics open with lines like "It all falls apart at first touch".

Chopping guitars and staccato bass and drums open "Colony" with a pulsing beat. "I can't see why all these confrontations, I can't see why all these dislocations". Where was his head when he wrote these songs? Not somewhere to seek for yourself.

"A Means to an End" originally closed the with a catchy hook on the lead guitar, powered along by the bass and drums. A cymbal beat punctuates the song, "I put my trust in you." I've been there myself.

"Heart and Soul" originally opened side two of the album. The bass pulses as a backdrop to catchy drums and lead before Curtis begins to sing. "Heart and Soul, one will burn", and it does, Joy Division fiddles while Curtis burns.

The pace slows again for the opening "Twenty Four Hours" but it gradually builds up into a relentless driving wall of guitar, drums and bass, until Curtis breaks in with the lyrics "So this is permanence, love's shattered pride". I know what he means, just when things seem to be getting stable, the ground swallows you up.

Much slower than the rest of the album "The Eternal" hisses into being. Curtis' voice is surprisingly soft and mellow with subdued bass and drums easing the track along. Again there is a touch of very melancholy keyboards, this time a piano plaintively tinkles int he background. He seems to reveal an ambivalent attitude towards children in the lyrics, but perhaps he is referring to all humans "With children my time is so wastefully spent, A burden to keep through their inner communion, accept like a curse an unlucky deal".

A melancholy synth litters the closing track, "Decades", a very down beat sound eased along by the bass and percussion. "Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders/ where have they been?" Does it get any worse? We'll never know now will we? The track always brings a lump to my throat anyway.

The production quality and musicianship of the album, a remastered version, is excellent, clear at all frequencies and well balanced between hitting you in the ears and punching you in the gut. I think Ian would have approved of the newer version.

The bonus disk was recorded live at the University of London Union on February 8th 1980, making it 34 years old as I reviewed it. I assume most fans will have an assortment of Joy Division live recordings and this official release is better than many of them. The track listing includes one of my personal favourites "Dead Souls".

In all an essential record for fans although it is far from easy listening.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars - what else?, 24 May 2009
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
If you are reading this, you probably already know Joy Division. But for good measure:

Joy Division was a post-punk band, and among the most trend-setting bands for the genre called 'new wave'. Their style was dark, monotonous and gothic in the correct semi-religious sense of the words.

Most of the dark experimental rock of the 80's owed allegiance to this band - such as The Sound and The Cure (before they became a disco band).

While many people I've met tend to regard the album 'Unknown Pleasures' as 'the best', I have a personal preference for 'Closer' which can arguably be seen a the most melodious and transcendent of their albums. The final track 'Decades' is, in my opinion, one of their most original and beautiful. (My other personal favourite being 'Atmospheres', originally released as an EP and found today only on compilations).

Whether you like this band or not, it is one of the most important bands of its decade, just as The Doors (from which Joy Division has obvious inspiration) was in the 60's.

So a remastered reissue can only be recieved with five stars, unless you simply want to put down something that made a difference and did it well.

This edition includes a bonus CD with tracks that you had to find on bootleg records at the time. It will probably mostly be interesting to fans. The real important stuff is the original 'Closer' album. But the extras are not a bad thing at any rate.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alles Behinderte Außer Rob, 16 April 2011
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Look at " Spliff`s " Die Maurer , it`s similar to all that great Closer TO-stuff. It`s called " Wir Sind Viel Zu Gut ".
To the look at 50 years of Joy Division in the year 2025.

It`s an extrodermitotive situation in 1979. And it`s gone.

The 7 involved Joy Divisions ( Rob Gretton, Ian Curtis, Tony Wilson, Peter Hook, Martin Hannett, Stephen Morris and Bernard Albrecht ) were totally implusive.

A question of all the time.

To Songs To Closer need a time; is a pleasure for history ...
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection Perfected, 24 Aug 2008
By 
Mr. M. J. Turner "Saucebag" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
A suicidal swan endlessly pirhouetting on a glass lake. Now with added live pathos to make it even more unbearably astonishing. The best record ever made and then some...
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13 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art and Beauty Butchered and Destroyed!, 5 Oct 2008
By 
Mr. G. Hassan "The Bungo Boy" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
God, what is the point of releases like this! Remember we used to think the music industry was clueless and not interested in music in decades long gone. And that punk was meant to change things. Well dream on; things are worse than they ever have been with horrid little money making exercises like this.

The guy from Croatia hit the nail on the head in his review - when he said he missed his vinyl copy of the original album. That was a gorgeous, intricate piece of art, design and music to hold in one's hand, look at, treasure and listen to. I aint even a vinyl junkie; I am not making that point; I have nothing against CDs - what I am against is this butchering of original albums like this.

We get what we deserve in some sense. Pointless releases like this are a symptom of the moral decay of the music industry, and wider issues about society. About commerce and money driving everything, the power of consumerism and 'stuff', and how art and creativity have been compromised by corporates.

People will say it was always thus; well no it wasnt as this very release proves by its existence and its utter genius. As Factory Records proved, New Order, Tony Wilson, by existing as a genuine, pioneering independent and cradling some of the most important musical talent Britain has ever seen in post-war times.

Why would anyone buy this release when they have the original Factory issue or even the subsequent London release? And why would anyone buy this - if they dont have these releases - when the first London release is still on the market?

A release that - along with Unknown Pleasures - hits a new low in record company exploitation of dead stars and icons. These two releases detract, diminish and tarnish the power, beauty and perfection of the original albums.
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11 of 138 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Finaly re-mastered!!!, 31 Oct 2007
By 
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This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Finaly the big music labels get the idea to re-print the cd as near-by-look-like the 33" vinyl!!! I hate the plastic boxes for cds, specialy when Factory has made so fine packages for j.divisions albums! Finaly i got my hardcover cd "closer"! I waited for that about 16years!!! I give 1 star, because one cd would be enough, bootleg recording is no need here. Sadly bootlegs are included in still and un.pleasure cd. :( no need guys! give me original shape of these albums! btw; great booklet is inside. :) i love it. Beside that im huge fan since my teenage i Closer is always one of my favourites! Fantastic album and great production! I miss the vinyl editions! uh!
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Closer
Closer by Joy Division (Audio CD - 2007)
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