My Top 1000 Songs #230: Interzone

Amidst the darkness and intensity of Joy Division's timeless Unknown Pleasures, the frenzied "Interzone" feels like a brief respite. A throwback to their initial Pistols-inspired punk days, it's a glimpse of what might have been but for Martin Hannett's dense, spooky production and Ian Curtis' encroaching sadness--a crunchy guitar riff at rapid-fire pace, augmented by those freaky brr-rrr-rrr lip-rolls. Sure, the lyrics are as wedded to eerie urban decay and apocalyptic dread as the rest of the album, but enlivened by a wild call-and-response vocal with bassist Peter Hook trading lines with Curtis.

The song was apparently triggered by a failed attempt to cover an R&B song, Nolan Porter's "Keep On Keepin' On" (or at least to repurpose the central riff), and while the punk-tinged final product seems pretty removed from its soul roots, the origin story does give the tune a very different vibe from the rest of the album. It's far from the album's most groundbreaking or memorable track, but one I love because of the much-needed adrenalin rush.

Here's the early, much rougher recording, without Hook's vocals or Hannett's production magic:

For comparison, here's Nolan Porter's "Keep On Keepin' On":

I'm not a fan of the videos put together for the album a few years back, which don't really suit the music, but if you're interested:
Here's Hook performing it live:


  1. Cool post. I've always liked the early rough Warsaw tracks. Brrrrrr!


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