Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Here's a rough translation of the album review by Andrea Sangiovanni at the Italian BeatBear website:
Artist: The Distractions
Album: The End Of The Pier
Label: Occultation Recordings
This is a record which opens with typical rock chords and a time-worn voice yelling “I Don’t Have Time” and maybe that’s true, given that it’s been 30 years since Nobody’s Perfect. They are The Distractions and they’re back two generations later with a new record: both music itself and the world may have changed in the meantime, but what about them?
A quick biographical scan tells us that the group are more British than tea and that they got started back in school in the environment of the 1980s. Actually in 1975 Mike Finney (vocals), together with Steve Perrin (guitar) formed a band which only gelled into a stable line-up in 1977, as a punk group with strong sixties influences. With their album Nobody’s Perfect they shared the stage with Buzzcocks and Joy Division without ever being overshadowed, and found their own place in the sun.
30 years after The Distractions line-up split they’ve reformed and they’re back with a new album and, perhaps even more so because of the long wait there’s a real curiosity about The End Of The Pier, an album whose mere release will’ve caused palpitations in the hearts of punks young and old. Mature rock with a strong British accent forms the backbone of the album, and a split opens up between the difference in styles, with more upbeat tracks and ballads. Because of the words and the melodies it’s impossible not to feel a hint of nostalgia; “Too Late To Change”, for instance, is a perfect mixture of the record’s styles in that it’s basically a rock ballad.
There’s an effective balance between happy-go-lucky melodies such as “100 Times”, aggressive numbers like “Boots” (with lyrics about how the world has changed) and the aforementioned ballads which leave a romantic, melancholic aftertaste, such as “Wise”. It might seem as though all the tracks are heading in the same direction but actually that’s not the case, and there’s a full range of emotions to be detected in the subtle undercurrent.
The End Of The Pier is a narrative which needs to be read between the lines, there’s no point making comparisons with the previous album, given the amount of time that’s elapsed between them, but this is a punk rock narrative which describes the present to us with a voice from the past.
(c) Andrea Sangiovanni
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Here's a full-page advert and a review of the first Island single, It Doesn't Bother Me b/w One Way Love, courtesy of the Manchester District Music Archive and their City Fun - The Hidden History of Manchester's Post-Punk Fanzines exhibition. It's not clear why the advert has been sliced and pulled in half, and that review certainly makes some bold predictions for The Distractions...
'It Doesn't Bother Me!' (Island)
Likewise, this is a dreadful chunk of overrated non-active garbage from one of the most boring pop acts of all time. (Just watch those temperatures rise, ha-ha). Please read on cos I'm only jesting. This is, in fact, one of the finest pop singles of the past three years. Island have succeeded in transforming an old ruby into a new diamond. A light, hollow sound now replaces the perhaps slightly messy approach approach of the TJM version. Simply sensational and I can't find a fault. I've never known anyone who dislikes The Distractions and THAT is the reason why they are destined to be our city's most successful band since 10cc. I'm sure of it.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
The positive reviews keep on coming from all over the globe. This one is a faithful translation of Max Sannella's 5-star piece at the Italian music webzine, Rockambula.
The Distractions – The End Of The Pier
This is a fine record which might even have been posthumous; it comes to terms with the past and makes it unflinchingly through the first round without ever trying too hard. The Distractions, an English group led by Mike Finney, are back after a thirty-year break from a career during which everything that could go wrong did go wrong, arguments and misunderstandings, with The End Of The Pier, a jewel in the Old British crown. The formula sees a few changes to their original sound, which always had a hint of melancholy about it and plenty of ballads and what we have here is that long-lost punk spirit delivered calmly and honestly by a band who’ve nothing left to lose and seem happy simply to have made it this far.
Even so, The Distractions are still a class act with a lively, melodic sound. Although they may have “a few miles on the clock” the rejuvenation is dramatic, full of positive nostalgia though with none of the whining you might expect and striking a balance between a kind of reserved British romanticism and a sweet verve which slides down the throat and into the ears like an elixir, and one you can’t help enjoying. The ten tracks work together to produce a consistent whole; it’s not too demanding, with smooth, non-aggressive rock and big ballads best enjoyed alone at nightfall, so that the listener feels included in the warmth of the memories.
There’s a huge range of emotions in timeless ballads such as “Wise”, “When It Was Mine” and “Man Of The Moment”, which are almost poetic and full of tender confidence, in “100 Times” or in the melodic echo of a faraway guitar underpinning a tale of unrequited love in “Too Late To Change”. Admittedly the primitive punk rumble has gone but, in spite of their advancing years, the group still manage to pull something out of the hat of the past and they’re still pounding the pavement, looking not to trouble the charts but merely to make us realise that old lions should be cherished for their wisdom, not put out to grass.
- Genre: Ancient Rock
- Label: Occultation Recordings 2012
- Rating: 5/5
- Review publication date: 7th December 2012
(c) Rockambula, 2012.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
As well as the album review and a Perrin interview (coming soon), The Big Takeover magazine's latest issue contains an Occultation Recordings and Fishrider Records advert featuring the most recent releases by the ever-expanding labels.
"32 years between albums... but worth the wait: if great pop is made of sad songs set to happy tunes, The Distractions are still a perfect pop group."
David Quantick, Uncut Magazine 9/10
"The most emotionally affecting album I've heard in years."
Mick Middles, The Quietus
"Finney is one of the great lost voices of English rock..."
Mark Brend, Record Collector
The End Of The Pier - 180g LP/CD
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Let's start what should be another great year for The Distractions with another nice review of the new album. This one is from Terry Banks and excellent The Big Takeover magazine from New York, which also features a Steve Perrin interview, an Occultation advert featuring The Distractions and even a mention on the front cover.
THE END OF THE PIER
Back in the late ’70s, The Distractions were a genial, new wavey Manchester quintet that issued a couple of singles, one on Factory, before signing to Island for their 1980 debut album, Nobody’s Perfect. Then it all went quiet - for 32 years. Now they’re back with LP number two! Well, two of them are. Singer MIKE FINNEY and guitarist STEVE PERRIN have teamed up with there new guys, including drummer MIKE KELLIE, once of THE ONLY ONES, and Occultation head/guitarist NICK HALLIWELL from GRANITE SHORE, to record this meditative but occasionally sprightly 10 tracker. It’s more measured than of yore, but maybe that’s the point, and numbers such as the resigned “100 Times” cut through memorably.