Means To An End: The Music of Joy Division – Review

Means To An End

The Music of Joy Division (Virgin)
by Chris Adams

More like means to a beginning. Joy Division were arguably the first band to sidle up to a nation of punk rockers and whisper “pssst… maybe a little artfulness is OK.” In JD’s case, it was more than OK – their two studio albums are amazing, classic reminders of what was and what coulda been. When vocalist Ian Curtis killed himself in the spring of 1980 – yeah, it was a long time ago – he closed the curtains on one of the best rock bands ever – and one of the most influential. Tribute albums tend to be sketchy at best, but not this one. The songs are treated with respect, but without too much of the sycophantic reverence that makes so many tribute albums carbon-copy bores.

Girls Against Boys lend a nice metallic crunch to “She’s Lost Control,” and Station-Miranda bounce happily (to wit: Ironically) through “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” And hey, lollapaloosers, Starchildren, who perform a robotic synth-pop version of “Isolation,” they’re really Smashing Pumpkins! So rush out and buy buy buy this album, and get hip to some phenomenal music written in an era when “alternative” meant you couldn’t find the fucking records anywhere. End is a beautifully haunting, haunted collection.