… or, more correctly, that should probably say Warsaw / Joy Division / New Order, because the first track on this tape is from the earliest incarnation of Joy Division.
And is pretty awful, too. Inside the Line is a mess of almost punk-inspired shouting and drum hitting. A rehearsal, apparently dating from 1977, it shows none of the poetic lyrical finesse of Joy Division – admittedly mainly because you can’t really hear the lyrics, but there’s very little positive to say about it.
These are all rehearsals, and the next, In a Lonely Place, opens with a chaotic shout of, “Does it fucking matter? Play the drumkit!” The track would become the b-side to New Order‘s Ceremony in 1981, but a year or so earlier Ian Curtis was still the troubled genius fronting the band. The demo claims therefore to be a Joy Division recording, although apparently it is in fact an early New Order rehearsal. Either way, it’s not a bad version of a reasonable track. It has been suggested that this could have been their first recording without Ian Curtis.
Homage, on the other hand, also from 1980, is pretty awful, featuring a pretty awful vocal performance. These demos apparently surfaced for the first time in 2009, and while they’re not entirely unlistenable, they certainly lack the charmthat either Joy Division or New Order had during their finest hours.
Procession is marginally less bad, but it’s still easy to see why New Order‘s first album remains such a difficult release to enjoy. Perhaps early New Order are best treated with caution.