With the recent reformation of former band-mates New Order and the continued activity of ex-bassist Peter Hook's current project The Light and their revisit of all things Joy Division, it's been quite a year for fans of the two iconic bands. Even if the two parties are more likely to make a range of curtains than make peace, it's the music that counts and judging by the reactions to New Order's recent London show and Hooky's respectful homage to old mucker, Ian Curtis, both might actually be better apart, for now at least.
While Bernard Sumner's charges contemplate their next move, Hook has announced his intentions to squeeze at least one more full tour into his schedule next year. In the past 18 months or so, he and The Light have been unleashing complete recitals of Joy Division's only two studio albums, "Unknown Pleasures" and "Closer". Hook's remit is simple - he wants to share the great music he and his mates made some 30 years ago.
Cited as key influences by a whole chain of bands and musicians in the last three decades, the Martin Hannett-produced collections are by turns haunting, austere and dark, yet eerily beautiful at the same time. Hook has lifted the gloom slightly by installing powerful soul-singer Rowetta as primary vocalist, as heard on the recently re-released (on CD) "1102/2011" EP. It's still unmistakable Joy Division, but with a tad more 'joy'.
2012 will see the band bring these one of the two albums to various cities during late spring, starting with a string of Unknown Pleasures shows in Liverpool, Glasgow, Nottingham, Sheffield, Birmingham and Oxford and a Closer show at the Islington Academy. Tickets for these shows go on sale this Friday - (9am for Nottingham and Sheffield, midday for the others), priced at £20 upwards.
You can also catch Peter Hook and the Light in Buxton on 25th February - this show will feature both albums and costs £18.