Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Joy Division: Closer [Factory, 1981]
Another anticlimactically after-the-fact American release for these purveyors of melancholy and autohypnosis, and enough to make you understand why whole writing seminars haunt the import shops awaiting their next twelve-inch. Ian Curtis's torment is less oppressive here because it's less dominant--the dark, roiling, off-center rhythms have a life of their own. And if last time the dancier material had hooks, this time even the dirges have something closely resembling tunes. A-