Halloween cover shows are a lot of work. A band busts its ass for weeks, sometimes months, to learn another band’s catalog, only to play those songs once or twice around or on the holiday before going back to their own material (and the daunting task of getting people out to shows without dangling the carrot of a familiar band we all grew up on). But throwing down a memorable Halloween tribute set as a familiar hero of yesteryear can spike interest in the band doing the covering, as we saw with Vary Lumar’s take on the Smashing Pumpkins at our Halloween party at Great Scott, and, down Harvard Avenue at the same time, Band Without Hands’ show as Nine Inch Nails at O’Brien’s Pub.
While those two shows were going down here in Boston, a young rock quartet called Arlen was tearing shit up at the Last Safe & Deposit Company in Lowell as Joy Division. People in our circles know how much we revere Joy Division, post-punk of that era, and pretty much anything associated with Tony Wilson and Factory Records. So it wasn’t long before we caught wind of Arlen’s performance, basically by people messaging us to check it out online.
So we hit the internet and watched a them play “No Love Lost” (excellent choice, that), “Digital,” and a few other classic Joy Division tracks via YouTube, and then we quickly got to thinking: “Well what the fuck does this band usually sound like?”
Turns out they’re pretty good.
A few weeks ago they released their latest single, “Gloria,” and it’s a fiery post-hardcore guitar-rock missile that rips for three minutes straight. Social media tells us it’s the first single from an upcoming EP called Animal, and you listen to it and download it via the Arlen Bandcamp, embedded for easy use down below.
Arlen are back playing their own songs this Thursday at Dudley’s in Lowell, and if you ask nicely we’re sure they’d dust off one of those old Joy Division covers.