Saturday, March 29, 2008

Control - Various Artists

Various Artists (CD) – Rhino

Anton Corbjin's recent biopic Control details the brief, but electric career of Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division from 1976-1980, and the soundtrack to Corbjin's first directorial effort is notably satisfying. It smartly includes Joy Division's material along with contemporaries who influenced them or who would've provided the soundtrack to their lives. You experience Curtis's devotion to David Bowie and the Velvet Underground, and hearing songs by Kraftwerk, The Buzzcocks, Roxy Music, and Iggy Pop, you see how Joy Division stood on the shoulders of giants when they began wowing Manchester in the '70s. John Cooper Clarke even appears, performing his punk poem, “Evidently Chicken Town.” Clarke plays himself in the movie and used to open for the Sex Pistols, as well as Joy Division. The cast perform Joy Division's songs in the movie, and their version of "Transmission" provides an authentic glimpse of the rough, but entrancing spirit of a Joy Division appearance. Fittingly, New Order provide three instrumental tracks for the score. Nothing too striking, but it's comforting to hear their distinctive sound coloring this effort. Some fans will grouse about The Killer’s poppy cover of “Shadowplay,” which plays over the credits, but it seems appropriate to include a band so obviously indebted to Joy Division. Though you might reasonably ask, "What? No Interpol?" They'd have better suited the Control's achromatic mood. - Robert Stribley

This review appears in the latest issue of Skyscraper Magazine, Issue 27 (Spring 2008)

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