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the official distractions website

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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Monday, February 28, 2011

Return of The Distractions

Here's a fine article from Stephen Canavan at suite101, a new convert to The Distractions.

The Return of The Distractions

Feb 20, 2011 - Stephen Canavan

The Distractions - a review of the first new material released by the cult Manchester Post/Punk band in more than 30 years.

For any aficionado of Manchester's luminous musical history and heritage discovering a 'lost' band to fall in love with is an unexpected joy, akin to finding a ten pound note stuffed down the side of an armchair.

A chance mention on a Manchester United website in the spring of 2010, that the Manchester band The Distractions had reformed to record some new tracks, piqued my interest in hunting out and listening to the music of a band warmly recalled by post-punk veterans, and glowingly mentioned in books like Mick Middles 'Factory: The Story of a Record label'.

Railing against the prevailing dictates of post-punk's musical austerity, The Distractions were a breath of fresh, unashamedly pop air, into a stale scale dominated by the mothball stench of the raincoat, and haunted by Ian Curtis's tragic suicide.

The band formed in 1975 and their classic line up of Mike Finney (vocals) and principal songwriter Steve Perrin (guitar), Pip Nicholls (bass), Adrian Wright (guitar), and Alec Sidebottom, began to mine a rich pop scene of sixties influenced post/punk.

Their debut EP, 'You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That', released in 1979, received ecstatic notices in the press and the band signed to Factory, releasing the classic 'Time Goes By So Slow' (FAC12) written by guitarist Adrian Wright.

Their only album 'Nobody's Perfect' (Island Records) released in 1980, was critically acclaimed but commercially ignored, and is long deleted. But it has attained over the years a lustre that only a true classic can attain. Discovering the record now through the wonders of ebay, it's remarkable how this brilliant record has remained unreleased for so long. Packed with effervescent pop nuggets such as 'Waiting for Lorraine' and 'Valerie', and the haunted ballad 'Looking for the Ghost', (a song so possessed by loss it needs an exorcist), thirty years after it's release the album still sounds fresh, and perhaps more importantly, like a record you can't live without owning.

The band split in 1981; but for this new born Distractions fan, the news that vocalist Mike Finney and guitar maestro Steve Perrin had recorded two new EPs at the tail end of 2010, as The Distractions, with help from bassist Nick Garside was sweet news indeed.

The good news is that both EPs 'Black Velvet', which comprises three tracks recorded circa 1995, during a brief reformation, that featured Nick Garside on bass, but which saw no songs released; and in particular 'Come Home', featuring new songs written in 2010, both out now on Occultation Recordings, are superb.

Time has not diminished the power either of Mike Finney's yearning white soul vocals, now textured by time with the warmth of depth of an Irish malt, or Steve Perrin's effortless song writing and jangly guitar.

While both are strong I especially liked the latest release 'Come Home'. Perrin's 'Lost' features poignant lyrics, delightful piano by Richard Turvey, chiming guitars, and a great performance from Finney, 'Nicole' aches with longing, while Nick Halliwell, who also plays guitar and adds vocals, song 'Oil Painting' is another melancholy masterpiece.

So the Distractions are back! And with hopefully more new tracks to follow in the next coming months, to go with a compilation of their TJM, Factory Records, and mid 1990s material entitled Nothing that is to be released later this year. So while it may have taken over 30 years for the band to release another record; the likes of ‘Black Velvet' and ‘Come Home’ prove that good things come to those who wait.


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