A review just a few days ago (of Babylon North) mentioned We Ghosts, who also featured in NMC earlier in the year with a song, ‘For the greater good’ that I somehow managed to mix up with another one entirely.
But there’s no mistaking this one. That connection was to Tedeborg, who is also a member of Babylon North. Tedeborg created a Joy Division tribute called ‘Ian Curtis Reached Heaven Long before Me’ a couple of years ago, in reference to the band’s front man who, plagued by depression and epilepsy, committed suicide in 1980.
I didn’t know until this week that Joy Division’s song ‘Love will tear us apart’ has been named one of the World’s best rock songs by both the NME and Rolling Stone.
Neither did I know that We Ghosts have for long had their own version of the song in their repertoire. What’s more they often play at a music pub/venue called The Wharf, in Macclesfield, Cheshire, which was Ian Curtis’ home town at the time of his suicide. The pub is a haunt for the three original members of Joy Division (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris) and the subsequent band New Order, which was formed after Curtis’ death.
Indeed, bassist Peter Hook, who co-wrote the song, has seen We Ghosts playing live there and a positive response from him to their version of ‘Love will tear us apart’ is believed to have been the catalyst for them deciding to record it.
So what about it? Will it tear you apart?
The first thing I’d recommend is to listen to the original, or better still watch the official video. I always thought the video was a little depressing, that there was something Orwellian, of ‘1984’, about it. Not that the subject matter is exactly lighthearted.
We Ghosts have speeded it up a notch, turned up the tempo and to a degree ‘pop-ified’ it. They’ve done that by adding instrumentation, replacing the keys with guitar for the main theme, adding an introductory bass line that is more Kathy Valentine of ‘The Go-Go’s’ than Hooky, and by appending a little guitar bridge and outro.
The Stephen Morris drum part is as Krautrock-like and metronomic as ever, but embellished by various little fills which make a positive difference.
But the biggest difference is in the vocal. Jenny Woodall is closer to Judith Durham than to Ian Curtis.
You think that can’t possibly work? Think again.
I don’t know how the purists in the Manc/Salford community will take to it but if it was an entirely new song I’m sure they’d love it.
‘Love will tear us apart’ is available now via the Comedia label.
Later this month, We Ghosts will embark on a tour in France.
We Ghosts Live:
Wednesday October 26, Le Schaeffer / Auxerre
Thursday 27 October, Cabaret l’Escale / Migennes
Friday October 28, L’Auxervoise / Auxerre
Saturday October 29, Le Marvageur / Rosoy
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