Is it possible to have too many bands that sound like Joy Division? In the early 80s, it was. It seemed that Factory Records had trawled the dingy clubs and bedrooms of a thousand grey, rain-washed towns and signed all the angst-ridden and long-coated youth they could find. The best of the set were proto-goths from Leeds - Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. A fine combination of muscular tribal drums, earthy bass and dour-seeming vocals which are still played by the discerning to this day.
Then the Smiths came along and the angst-ridden moped in their bedrooms to the sound of arch lyrics and jangly guitars, which pretty much set the indie music tone until ecstasy arrived to save us. The Joy Division meme next surfaced in the early 90s with the remarkably under-rated Disco Inferno. The band would probably not thank me for calling them 'Shoegazing Joy Division,' but that's the closest description I can manage. Again, fine stuff that's well worth digging out.
I should note that there's a special hell reserved for all the slack bastards who perpetrate JD covers. (And that definitely includes the Swans.) Ian & Co. got it right the first time, y'all don't bring anything new, or worthwhile, to the party. What has any of this to do with Messrs. Distant Sun, though?
Well, they (he) sounds a lot like New Order might have done had they continued in the same vein as Movement and 1981-1882, rather than going off (on one matey, as it turned out) to play with Arthur Baker and a rack of mad synthesizers. There are, of course, later influences - a certain amount of late-model chunky guitar rather than the authentic-80s-style weedy-jangly recorded-for-sixpence noise, and a wedge of odd noises that sound like old-style NIN. Only significantly better.
So what we do have here is a lot of tribal drumming, which is very much in the relentless, pounding and steamhammer style; unobtrusive bass - there is only one Peter Hook, after all; and a guitar that lurches from Rammstein-style chunky handfuls to widdly-widdly stadium-rock malarkey. Sometimes there are words. Descent comes across all gruffly lovelorn the same way Ceremony does (and if I have to explain who wrote Ceremony and which the best version is, I shall be Very Cross Indeed.). Most of the rest of the tracks that have words in sound more like someone mumbling darkly in the back room of an over-loud pub. The ones that don't fall into those categories sound like an angry robot gargling used sump-oil.
Is it any good though? Of course it is - there's plenty of old-school post punk goodness here to keep sad old gimmers like myself happy, which is going to be New and Exciting as far as The Kids are concerned. Meantime, while the 'thud-crash-gront!' that seems to be de rigueur for modern 'industrial' music is thankfully absent, there's plenty of loud things going on for people to easily do the Shouty Robot Dance along to.
Go and buy this. Get it played in clubs. Annoy the people who think they know what's 'going on.'