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Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

From the vaults

It's not long to go until the first music recorded this millennia from The Distractions in the form of the Come Home EP on 12" vinyl.  However, there's still time to look back with these excellent reviews of past Distractions releases on Rate Your Music.


First we have 'Magic Moments' from Copenhagen (who reviewed the Black Velvet EP recently) with his review of Nobody's Perfect:

It is no surprise that very few people know this little gem.  When it was released in 1980 it sold next to nothing, The Distractions disbanded shortly afterwards, and as far as I know none of the group members has ever popped up in any other constellations.  Possibly, they simply left the music scene altogether, and since Nobody's Perfect has never been released on CD this could easily have been the end.  But thanks to digital downloads (although it seems very, very hard to find) more than the happy few from the early '80s will now have a chance to check it out. 

So, what is this album like?  Well, first of all it is important to stress that it is probably not a coincidence that Nobody's Perfect was severely overlooked.  In 1980 the heyday of punk and new wave was over, and Nobody's Perfect wasn't competing with, say, Plastic Letters.  Instead you had the seminal Joy Division, The Cure had just released Seventeen Seconds, in a couple of months Echo and the Bunnymen would release Crocodiles, and numerous bands, including punk/new wave pioneers like The Clash and Talking Heads, were now highly experimental.  In that context The Distractions were certainly not state of the art.  In fact, songs like 'Boys Cry' and 'Wonder Girl' may be superbly well-crafted but you could easily get the impression that they were recorded in 1965.  So that is part of it: Obviously, The Distractions have a great passion for 60s pop music.  On the other hand, it is also an aggressive new wave band of the late '70s.  'Waiting for Lorraine' and 'Something for the Weekend' could almost be early Elvis Costello, 'Sick and Tired' may be inspired by Talking Heads and 'Paracetamol Paralysis' and 'Valerie' may not be proper punk but are surely as fast as anything done by Buzzcocks or Ramones.  In short, Nobody's Perfect is pop with an edge. And, as such, damned close to perfect. 


Then a few mentions of Time Goes By So Slow, which will of course feature on Nothing, the compilation album out in early 2011.


Finally, a song by the sadly overlooked Distractions is available.  Easy, cheap and legally, too!  It's the glorious debut single that has been included on the Factory Records compilation Factory Records: Communications 1978-92.  I didn't know Time Goes By So Slow before I bought it but it is exactly as wonderful as the RYM-rating of the moment tells ya.  And you know what?  Until the very last moment this was supposed to be the B-side!  So I wonder about that Pillow Fight...  Anyway, what we really, really need now is the entire work (at best 25 songs, I guess) collected on one or two CD's. Remastered, comprehensive liner notes from Mike Finney and everything, thank you very much!

'Magic Moments' (your wish is your command, what with Nothing on its way).


...And The Distractions' "Time Goes by so Slow" is simply a marvellous pop song with a superbly memorable chorus.  Tony Wilson held out high hopes of this being Factory's commercial breakthrough prior to Joy Division; quite probably it came a few months too soon in their short history to cross over properly.

From 'lookslikemik' in a review of Palatine - The Factory Story Volume 3.


Other highlights on this compilation include a wonderful moment from The Distractions.  Its utter failure to chart may just be testimony to Factory's lack of commercial nous, because Time Goes By So Slow is a fine, surprisingly conventional pop single that had all the makings of a major hit.

From 'resist_retreat' in a review of Factory Records: Communications 1978-1992.

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