Jon Savage’s “This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else” documents the formation, brief life and sudden end of the phenomenal Manchester, England, band Joy Division.
Much has been written about this band; some of the sharpest music writers have given their best trying to capture its essence. As brilliant as some of this work is, Joy Division seems to remain in the shadows, just out of reach of critical assessment. Joy Division’s music doesn’t “rock” in the classic sense as much as shudder, roar and convulse. The songs are readings of temperature, light and lack of light. They walk silently for hours on city streets and return alone to small rooms with full ashtrays and no messages on the machine. It’s a fantastically difficult question to answer: Why do you like Joy Division? The more dedicated the listener, the more likely you’ll get an inhaled breath held for a few seconds, an exhale and a shrug.