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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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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hidden Masters

We're delighted to bring you news of the long-awaited, comprehensive and fully-remastered Distractions retrospective, from Neil Storey at Hidden Masters:




THE DISTRACTIONS

 
During the Autumn of 2010, work began on another Hidden Masters project, centered around one of the truly great 'lost' Manchester bands of the early '80s – The Distractions.
 
If the name doesn't readily spring to mind, a brief aide-memoire: The Distractions' first releases were on the TJM label before they signed to Factory. One single later and Nick Stewart (the man who inked the pact with U2) signed them to Island.
 
The Distractions one and only album, Nobody's Perfect, was released to sales that failed to match the lavish critical praise heaped upon the band or the record. Thus, after the obligatory singles and weeks spent touring the length and breadth of Britain, they were promptly dropped (in favour of the Irish quartet) when label cutbacks dictated that an A&R choice had to be made between one and t'other.
 
The Distractions reappeared on Rough Trade and Bronze before grinding to a halt at no real fixed point in time during the middle of the decade.

And there the tale would probably have ended… were it not for Occultation's Nick Halliwell who reunited co-founders Steve Perrin (writer & guitars / by now a teacher in Auckland, NZ) and Mike Finney (singer of songs / a Customs Officer in Hull) at a studio in Liverpool during the summer of 2009.
  



Occultation released the resulting two EPs to rave critiques. The shell on the egg of Distractions #2 had been pierced and, although geographically challenged, vague plans were made to record a second album… 31 years after their first.
 
With better than anticipated sales of these two EPs coupled to renewed media interest in The Distractions as the backdrop, Hidden Masters began the research process that would lead to assembling a database of all known recordings. Because, other than their Factory single, none of The Distractions' material has ever been made digitally available or reissued in any form.
 
Meantime, those imprecise new-LP plans turned to reality during the Summer of 2011 when messrs Perrin and Finney tipped up at a small studio in Exeter armed with a clutch of new compositions. Accompanied by Halliwell (guitars), Arash Torabi (bass) and veteran drum-major Mike Kellie, the new Distractions album was recorded in four days.
 
Concurrently, the months of deep-archive research were bearing fruit; all of The Distractions key masters had been located. However, using the same methodology as for any Hidden Masters project, the complete audio-database also includes live recordings; demos, outtakes, different mixes and radio sessions – some of which only now exists on DAT, cassette or virgin vinyl.
 
Hidden Masters will shortly start the digitisation process of all found (at FX with Richard Whittaker as chief engineer) before embarking on the song selection process in collaboration with Mike Finney and Steve Perrin.
 
With the new Distractions' album being readied for release via Occultation in late Spring 2012, Hidden Masters plan to release the fully re-mastered retrospective to coincide.
 
Envisaged as a 2xCD set and currently untitled, it will include their one and only Island album – about which, the final line in Paul Morley's July 3rd 1980 lead review for the NME stated | This is heart beat music that bruises the soul.

© Neil Storey, 2010-2012.

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