With the exception of Joy Division's last single, Love Will Tear Us Apart, which faded out gradually into the anguished silence of singer Ian Curtis' suicide, none of the band's songs ever really ended; they either fell apart or collapsed, as if to bring about a proper end to something beyond their grasp. Joy Division couldn't stand still…
Joy Division is one of the definitive bands from the rock culture. With their dark poetic inception and a sound marked by a new way of thinking about how music should be created, the Manchester band served as a model for countless artists. Today, just as it marks 35 years of the death of Ian Curtis (the legendary singer and lyricist of the group) The Many Faces Of Joy Division shows the hidden world behind the group, their rare recordings, side projects, their influences and the Manchester scene where the band bloomed. With a wonderful cover art, remastered sound and extensive liner notes, The Many Faces of Joy Division is an album not only for fans but for anyone who wants to understand the influence (and enjoy the music) of a truly transcendent bad, which made beauty out of sadness.
The story of Ian Curtis and Joy Division has been told twice on film so far, once as a facet of Michael Winterbottom's 24-Hour Party People and then again as the full subject of Anton Corbijn's Control. In conjunction with the latter film, the surviving members of the band now collectively known as New Order took the opportunity to tell the story themselves for the first time ever, working with pioneering music documentary director Grant Gee (best known for the influential Radiohead film Meeting People is Easy).
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; treat Closer as what everyone else thought it was at first – simply the next album – and Joy Division's power just seems to have grown. Allmusic 5/5