Peter Hook / Peter Hook & the Light

1102/2011

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Risking the wrath of the outspoken Joy Division worshipers for a second time, original bassist Peter Hook and his new outfit the Light follow up their Live in Australia album with their first EP, 1102/2011, another collection of covers from the iconic band's brief but impactful back catalog. Considering that his droning basslines were arguably just as integral to the success of Closer and Unknown Pleasures as Ian Curtis' melancholic intense tones, Bernard Sumner's angular guitar hooks, and Stephen Morris' post-punk rhythms, Hook has perhaps more right than anyone to revisit their classic material. But although the four numbers featured here (which also appear in their instrumental versions) are nowhere near as legacy-tainting as the more disgruntled Joy Division fans would have you believe, it's understandable why there has been such vocal opposition to the idea. Taking lead on three tracks, Rowetta, the former Happy Mondays backing singer and X Factor finalist, is undoubtedly a fine soulful talent who deserved more than playing second fiddle to Shaun Ryder and later, Steve Brookstein, but her slightly operatic tones lend an unwanted bombastic air to the muted downbeat melodies of "Atmosphere" and "Insight," while the grungy polished sound of "New Dawn Fades" sits at odds with Martin Hannett's renowned minimal production. "Pictures in My Mind," a previously unfinished Curtis track discovered by a bootleg society after it was originally stolen in 1977, certainly provides a sense of intrigue, but its abrasive punk leanings and Hook's aggressive gruff delivery suggest it should perhaps have stayed locked in the vaults. 1102/2011 will undoubtedly spark the curiosity of Joy Division's enduring fan base, but while there's little to get riled about, there's little to get excited about either.

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