Substance is a compilation of the non-album singles and EPs released by Joy Division during their three year history. It has very little crossover with the two studio albums – the only track in common is an inferior version of Unknown Pleasures‘ ‘She’s Lost Control’.
Substance begins with the An Ideal For Living EP, which captures Joy Division before Martin Hannett got hold of them; documenting them as a punk band rather than the post-punk outfit they’d become. As a collection, it’s less consistent than their studio albums, but it contains some of their most notable tracks. ‘Transmission’ was Joy Division’s first single, released between Unknown Pleasures and Closer, while Licht und Blindheit featured atmosphere and the driving ‘Dead Souls’. ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ is perhaps the band’s best known song, with its synthesiser hook.
It’s uneven, but Substance is a very good appendix to Joy Division’s studio albums, rounding up some of their best work.