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Factory Records: Communications 1978-92

Rhino (2009)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  January 6, 2009
4.0 4.0 Stars


Whether it's the martial beat of Joy Division's "Transmission," the drudge rock of A Certain Ratio and Section 25, or the industro-sample ranting of Cabaret Voltaire, the whole Factory Records stereotype of thin, earnest men in long raincoats complaining about the cold and the damp to absolutely no chicks whatsoever over frenetic machine-made beats is with us for a reason.

But somewhere between 1978 and 1980 (or between disc one and disc two of this useful and illuminating compilation), something happened at Factory to loosen things up — whether in the E-damaged party insanity of Happy Mondays, the soaring and anthemic vision of New Order, or the baby-step bliss of (gasp) early James, you begin to hear young, uh, proud Brits having fun and consolidating an increasingly powerful new-wave æsthetic.

This particular collection is worthwhile not just for the single versions of the classics but for the way it shines light on the lesser lights of the Factory roster, from Crispy Ambulance's motorik mope punk to the languid romantic swing of the Railway Children to the worldbeat proto-glitch of Quando Quando. And the absence of American proto-electroclashers ESG (licensing issues are cited) is more than made up for by the one-song-on-each-disc spotlight glut of sad-sackers Durutti Column, who remained, from the beginning to the end of the Factory saga, the label's flagship act.

Related: Not so elementary, Review: Extract, Review: Shorts, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Joy Division, Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire,  More more >
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 See all articles by: DANIEL BROCKMAN

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