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I’m not a huge enough Joy Division fan to know if this stuff was completely issued elsewhere. I have all their official albums and the HEART AND SOUL box on my shelf, but little by way of bootlegs. Some tracks show up on SUBSTANCE and HEART AND SOUL but there’s something here for you if you’ve never heard Joy Division’s punk roots. It’s good to hear these early recordings in some sort of chronological order as opposed to the way they’re spread around on official compilations. Gives you a better sense of their evolution. -Ian!

AN IDEAL FOR LIVING, Joy Division’s first release, showcases clearly the group’s punk roots. “Warsaw” is classic rushed hardcore complete with shouted vocals, while “Failures” simply slows the tempo a bit to become a punk-influenced hard-rock number. “No Love Lost” is almost an instrumental selection, with very late-entering vocals that seem like an afterthought. Most indicative of the group’s later releases is the slower-tempo “Leaders of Men,” which allows Ian Curtis’ bleak lyrics to come to the fore. Sound quality and production values on this release are extremely primitive. This is a mildly interesting, if not great EP; with the re-release of tracks one and three on the rarities album Substance, the need for diehard Joy Division fans to obtain this platter has notably decreased.

-David Cleary,

WARSAW is a bootleg, rather than a band-sanctioned official release. Three of these songs also appear on the “Heart and Soul” boxed set (The Drawback, Shadowplay, Interzone), and the sound quality is notably better there than here. However, the sound quality of this bootleg is really pretty good; you can enjoy the music unimpeded. There is, however, apparently a pristine sounding German bootleg out there somewhere.

The final five songs constitute the band’s earliest demo, from July 1977. At that point they were called Warsaw, and you can hardly perceive Joy Division in the breakneck punk frenzy. Interesting evidence of how quickly the band evolved, but little more.

Five months later, the band (now nearly called Joy Division) recorded the excellent e.p. “An Ideal for Living,” which is included in full on “Heart and Soul” and “Substance.” In May 1978, they did sessions for a planned RCA album, which never saw release. This “Warsaw” cd includes those sessions in full. To my knowledge, only three (of the total eleven) recordings from these sessions have been released officially (see above). Because all four songs from the “Ideal for Living” e.p. are rerecorded here (in, I think, inferior versions), that puts the burden of value of this cd on a mere four remaining songs.

And they’re pretty damn cool: a crisp (vocals all intelligible) “Walked in a Line,” a slower “Transmission,” a fiestier “Novelty,” and a solid “Ice Age.” The well-known recordings of these songs date from a year to two years later, so these are quite distinctive. If you’re a fanatic, you want everything on this cd. If you’re simply a big fan, these four tracks are worth checking out.

-John Hilgart,



One Comment

  1. I have a Warsaw EP as well but it's called "The Ideal Beginning" with the songs At a Later Date, Gutz, The Kill and Inside The Line. Not sure if it's a bootleg or an official Joy Division release, but I found it on vinyl for cheap at a used book store, so whatever. (I'm not a big JD fan either to be honest.)

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