Peter Hook & The Light: Unknown Pleasures: Live in Leeds 2012; Closer: Live in Manchester 2011; Power, Corruption & Lies: Live in Dublin 2013; Movement: Live in Dublin 2013 (World Records)

Peter Hook & The Light
Unknown Pleasures: Live in Leeds 2012; Closer: Live in Manchester 2011; Power, Corruption & Lies: Live in Dublin 2013; Movement: Live in Dublin 2013
(World Records)

The likelihood of the full New Order lineup getting back together is somewhere between another Replacements reunion (possible, but doubtful) and a Smiths reunion (Morrissey is just as likely to start eating meat and showing a bit of humility). But this collection of live albums from Peter Hook, founding member of both New Order and their precursor, Joy Division, is bound to serve as some solace to lifelong fans of both bands.

Since 2010, Peter Hook & The Light has been touring the globe playing a mix of originals as well as Joy Division and New Order songs live. Four of those shows have finally been released on CD covering Joy Division’s two albums – ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and ‘Closer’ – both recorded live in England and the first two New Order albums – ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’ and ‘Movement’ – both recorded in Dublin in 2013. And each is an impressive addition to the cannons of both bands.

All the albums include rare, and in some cases, never released singles to round them out. For the ‘Unknown Pleasure’ set, recorded on November 29, 2012 in Leeds, the band runs through the complete album along with stellar versions of “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and the never-recorded “Ceremony.” The ‘Closer’ album was recorded in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd in Manchester on May 18, 2011.

Yes, there are bound to be some folks who scream blasphemy at the fact that Hook was the only member of those two bands now playing these songs, but going into this with an open mind, these sets really are impressive. Decades later Hook and crew still manage to give life to classics like “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Blue Monday” and despite the fact the Hook never sang these songs originally, he does a stellar job with the material. Hearing the music of these two classic bands live again, spread across these four albums, is a reminder of just how punk their music really was.

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