Peter Hook & The Light - Four live albums album review

Well-known pleasures and buried treasures

Cover art for Peter Hook & The Light - Four live albums album

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Swashbuckling bass guitar bruiser Peter Hook may not be filling the grand arenas that his estranged former comrades in New Order are currently playing, but he proves he can still deliver a more visceral kind of garage-rock thrill on these four live albums (Closer Live In Manchester, Unknown Pleasures Live In Leeds, Movement Live In Dublin, Power Corruption & Lies Live In Dublin), all recorded between 2011 and 2013 but previously unreleased.

Hook’s hairy-bollocked biker-punk side proves to be both asset and liability here, serving him best on the Unknown Pleasures recording from 2012, where he finally gets to remake Joy Division as the Sabbath-heavy doom-rockers he pushed for at the time.

His brutalist riffs, rowdy cackles and guttural growls are less well-suited to the brooding, glacial beauty of Closer or New Order’s early electro-rock anthems, but it’s still exhilarating to hear these post-punk museum pieces dusted off and cranked up loud.

The handsome sleeves of all four albums, which cleverly echo the originals without directly recreating them, are impressive works of art in themselves.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.