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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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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Loving, crafted, often brilliant

Part two of Dave McCullough's Sounds article from June 1979:





ALL DRESSED UP AND SOMEWHERE TO GO

OR: GET YOUR WOOFING DOG OFF ME... DAVE McCULLOUGH MEETS HOT MANCUNIANS THE DISTRACTIONS

LATER that same night as the band tear through a quite brilliant set of songs, you can see the different personalities shining through in the corporate rock and roll band set-up... Pip standing like a proud little warrior just DARING somebody to make something of her still noticeably feminine features and hair, injecting seemingly so much heartbreak and pent-up emotion into every racing bass line she plays... Mike almost out-singing a Feargal Sharkey with breathtaking quivers in his voice and a crooning, impassioned delivery... while the other three luminous with energy, and yet more passion, work up a mighty lather.

The Distractions were so impressive, so absurdly READY to take on any competitors in the pure pop race and beat them after maybe just the few seconds of the Shangri-La esque intro to 'Maybe It's Love', brimming with versatility for nearly every current pop genre, including disco, welding each pointer of influence into a cemented image and range of music!

They sound like the Undertones (a similar blend of soft and hard, a similar image of emotion through comic surface), like the Velvets (the duel guitar sound is derived from spending their early gigs copying the sound of 'There She Goes' and 'Waiting For My Man'), like the Monkees (the band image is so perfect it's almost unreal).

But there's a solidity to the songs that's got more to do with Blue Oyster Cult or The Byrds than anything less substantial.  Take the new song they played at the Factory, 'Waiting For The Rain', reminiscent in structure of 'Don't Fear The Reaper', a song full of atmosphere and urgency that's just GOT to sound dynamic on record, given the subtle, shaded guitar belt and strong vocals.

'Still It Doesn't Ring' is typically sixties based and blessed with a hook to sharp it could skin a whale, Steve and Mike's vocals again combining powerfully.  Then there's the more obviously r'n'b based numbers, like the marvellously raucous 'Do The' which for sheer speed could leave the '79 Ramones scampering back into their gatefold double live album sleeves like old men.  The set could have lasted all night, I felt so stimulated and refreshed.

Loving, crafted, often brilliant, words that buzzed in me all the way back to London.  "Fuckin' amazin', man!..." seemed to be the crowd's verdict.


To be continued...

Dave McCullough, Sounds, 1979.

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