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Friday, July 13, 2012

Who’d have thought that coming back would be so hard?

Part One of Everett True's (Jerry Thackray's) early, idiosynchratic yet compelling review of The End Of The Pier at Collapse Board:

Song of the day – 473: The Distractions

I’ve been meaning to write about this album for a while. You see, it’s not nothing to me. A new Distractions album (the only other one came out in 1980, and it helped my lovelorn self survive two summers and the heat beyond). There’s no call for it to be good, to be anything other than a renewal of old bonds, a reiteration of the faith, a whisper of the past. And in many senses it is. And in many senses maybe that’s all it is. But maybe that’s enough for my fragile 51-year-old self, that it’s no use pretending this music doesn’t hold power over me, a power that is all the stronger because of the drip-feed of familiarity. I don’t want to lose my fondness for the new, the thrill of the chase – Peel alone knows I don’t want to lose that – but should I always be moving on? Do I always have to?

This new Distractions album is only their second in 32 years, and like the first is the least cutting of disappointments after the brace of singles that preceded it. This new Distractions album is so obviously, immediately The Distractions. I only saw them play live once – they were long-distance magic for me when young, and because of that I can welcome them back into my life again (as opposed to June Brides who I saw any number of times and hence can’t bear the thought of them reforming all grown apart and separate to myself). Yet how can it be, after 32 years, that these chiming plangent guitars and melancholy hope of Mike Finney’s voice are so recognisable? What are the chances of that? You could point to the slow-burning fuse of emotion that tapers and underpins each song. But how’s this not a nostalgia trip?

It’s like they sing on ‘Boots’, “Who’d have thought that coming back would be so hard?”

It’s like Sarah Jane said to the Doctor: “You never said goodbye”.

Maybe this is my chance. No, it’s not that. (Shakes his head impatiently.)...

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