A large group of cohorts and I just caught the NYC premier of Anton Corbijn’s Control this weekend, a biopic about the life and times of Ian Curtis. Though today’s post doesn’t feature Joy Division OR New Order, it features one of their contemporaries, fellow Manchester based Factory records outfit Crispy Ambulance, whose singer would fill in for Ian Curtis during one ill-fated night, culminating in an audience riot.
The band, formed in 1977 by Alan Hempsall and Robert Davenport, was unfairly dismissed as Joy Division knockoffs during their short recording tenure. Despite these accusations however, Crispy Ambulance had their own innovative style to add to the budding post-punk movement, and often incorporated a more minimal and dreamy sound to their compositions.
The band would flesh out their lineup and record a handful of singles in 1980 and play shows alongside the likes of prominent bands such as Killing Joke. Upon Factory’s request, the band would sign to record the full length record The Plateau Phase and a few assorted singles. Unfairly written off (along with fellow label mates Section 25, previously featured on these pages), the band would split in 1982, releasing a collection of unreleased tracks soon after.
Despite their demise, the band would reunite in 1999 to record two more records into the new millenium, and are together to this day, playing sporadic gigs in their native Manchester.
I’ve uploaded a handful of tracks…The first, a personal favorite from the 1982 record The Plateau Phase and the second, a lone 1984 single compiled on a resissued version of said album.
…and here’s a live clip of the band performing ‘The Presence’ in their earlier incarnation.
For more information on Crispy Ambulance, including a full discography, live mp3 downloads and more, here’s a link to their official site: