Sound — 9
An album to listen to crying in a graveyard while trying to hang yourself from the pale mocking moon, Closer will not save your life, but help end it with a suitably miserable soundtrack. Released shortly after frontman Ian Curtis had committed suicide the album is really rather bleak and sombre, from the mausoleum gracing the album cover to the desolute and hopeless soundscapes created by the band and shaped by Martin Hannett's defining production; it's enough to make even Santa cry then leap down the chimney of suicide to fill a stocking with his coffin. The sound is an evolution from "Unknown Pleasures" and the typical post-punk sound so imitated by the arty British bands of today. The trademark Peter Hook bass is still there, but the guitar is now far more understated, replaced with synths that go from mournful to rhythmic (best illustrated by the epic closer to Closer "Decades").
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are all poetic and deathly depressing, delivered in Ian Curtis' trademark cold and distant deep voice that has a beauty all of its own. At the time his marriage was collapsing and he was caught in a morbid mess between two women and this is reflected in his songwriting, though far more vaguely than in the seminal "Love Will Tear Us Apart".
Overall Impression — 10
Although it doesn't contain any of their most well known songs, this is still the most important Joy Division album. It reflects the articulate depression of the singer and the originality of the band in such a perfect whole that like all great albums it manages to somehow add up to more than the sum of its gothic parts. There's a kind of magic to it, a dark magic, like it's been made by the Spirit Of Sadness itself in her Palace Of Woe. In Manchester. All in all, the ultimate post-punk album and a must for any who considers themself truly emo or a fan of alternative music in general. RIP Ian Curtis. Beneath Macclesfield.