The Flowers of Hell – “Atmosphere” (Joy Division cover)


Odes is an album from collective The Flowers of Hell that pays tribute to their array of influences — ranging from Bob Dylan and The Velvet Underground to Stereolab and Neutral Milk Hotel. Among the standouts is a cover of Joy Division’s classic “Atmosphere.”

Upon the album’s 2012 release, it drew praise from one of these influences himself: Lou Reed. On his BBC6 / Sirius-XM New York Shuffle radio show that year, Reed called the release an “amazing album.” As such, it’s apt that some of these covers take a direction akin to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, as is the case with this Joy Division cover.

A glowing organ and steady guitar ruminations traverse into the soaring vocal power, with the “don’t walk away,” segment enamoring alongside the strings and radiant guitar strums. An added glistening, approaching the three-minute turn, plays with hypnotic impact into a chilling string-laden touch. “People like you find it easy,” the vocals let out following, driving into a rousing finale with trickling guitar intensity. The Flowers of Hell effectively deliver a different, standout interpretation of this Joy Division classic.

The band’s leader, Greg Jarvis, says the following about the cover:

“Joy Division would have known Lou Reed’s classic line that ‘One chord’s fine, two chords and your pushing it, three chords and your into jazz’ at the time they were writing their own two-chord wonder, ‘Atmosphere’. I think somehow we uncovered a Velvet Underground aspect that lies with-in the song, which perhaps isn’t so discernible on Joy Division’s original.”

Stream Odes in full:

This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of May 2023’ Spotify playlist.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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