Review Summary: A collection of songs that represent the pinnacle of the band's relatively short career span
Joy Division's legacy was based upon the fact that the band was able to produce quality material, while under the constant stress of having to deal with financial issues, constant rejection, and an illness that plagued their frontman Ian Curtis. Being influenced by bands such as the Sex Pistols, it took some time and effort for Joy Division to develop their sound and song structures that fall within the post-punk genre of music. With the bass being the lead part of the band's collective sound, as well as the screeching guitar lines performed by Bernard Sumner, they distinguished themselves from the main Manchester scene that was going on at that time. With their audience in awe of the hypnotic sway and jagged rhythms of the band, everyone was forced into a wasteland of utter despair and in a grotesque state of hopelessness.
The compilation opens full front with "Digital" and already your given this sense of playfulness with the track, while at the same time the darkness run over you in a slow, cryptic like mantra state, concerning the depth of the subject matter presented with the lyrics. With the bass busting out of the gate with a simple yet catchy beat, everything else second to this only adds layers upon layers of simplistic melodies that complement each other in a positive fashion. With the drums in the standard 4/4 rhythm, the dynamics produced by the band play off each other like a game of chess, in terms of not portraying a certain style and sound set forth by the bands that were projected forth before them.
When it comes to compilations such as this, the songs selections range from sub-par to horrid results. Usually adding a bonus song or so to tempt fans into buying a range of songs that fans/locals don't care about or already have in their possession, this release stays clear of that all together. Thankfully these fourteen tracks should please the local fans, but might be a little disappointing to the fans more familiar with the band's catalog. All the favorites and stone cold classics are here, (Love Will Tear Us Apart, Dead Souls, Atmosphere, Transmission, etc.) as well as tracks that are pretty much useless in adding any depth whatsoever to this release (Incubation, These Days). In a more realistic sense though it is impossible to call these song selections the best, or even the highlights, when the band recorded no obvious low lights and only in a relative sense a handful of mid lights.
The only negative aspect of this album, are some of the song selections I mentioned earlier and could do without. There is no sign of fan favorites such as Day of the Lords, Passover, Insight and Colony, which only adds disappointment and a sullen nature to the listener's ears. With these accusations though, this is a great starting place for someone looking to get into Joy Division and hopefully might branch out into the band's other releases and the post-punk genre as a whole.