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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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Friday, March 29, 2013

The passing of time

Here's another lovely translated review of the new album from the continent.  This time Gianfranco Marmoro at Italy's Onda Rock gives The End Of The Pier 8 out of 10:




THE DISTRACTIONS

The End Of The Pier

2012 (Occultation) | alt-pop



I know. You were all distracted. After all, nobody’s perfect.

The harmonic power of the work of Mike Finney and company had passed you by, while Manchester was changing musical direction and their single “Time Goes By So Slow” was joining the pantheon of great songs of the post-punk era. From the Buzzcocks to The June Brides, by way of the Cars and Elvis Costello, The Distractions’ sound had that verve which had taken the Undertones and Housemartins into the charts, lovely pop-punk from the heart with the odd hint of funk and electronics. A series of mishaps saw success slip away from them. Steve Perrin was the first to jump ship, before critical revisionism turned them into the Chameleons’ unlucky brothers; thirty-two years on, the story is picking up again but there’s no hint of any nostalgia for days gone by.

“The End Of The Pier” is a pure emotional vintage: although looking to the past, The Distractions are moving away from any hint of post-modernism creating a clear, crystalline sound, in a series of ballads brimming with emotion. Mike Finney’s voice is even deeper and more nuanced, with a soul flair which was found among many of the bands of the post-punk period, and it’s no coincidence that Arash Torabi of the June Brides and Mike Kellie of The Only Ones are on board.


The very languor which stopped the group riding the wave of initial success is now their strength. That gloom of theirs which makes you feel strangely happy has now taken on tinges maturity and awareness: Finney and Perrin still have a lot to say and this is one of the most precious records of 2012. Their music contains all their passion for the jazz of Miles Davis (I wouldn’t mind imagining him doing a version of “The Last Song”) and for Serge Gainsbourg (the splendid poetry of “When It Was Mine”), but there are also traces of the neo-romanticism of John Grant and Stephin Merritt (“Man Of The Moment”).

“The End Of The Pier” is a rough-sounding album, in spite of the bittersweet tones and the wealth of delicate pathos. The passing of time is the thread running through all ten tracks, from the urgency of “I Don’t Have Time” to the resignation of “The Last Song” the emotions flow smoothly like a cyclical narrative whose ending can always be rewritten. The youthful candour of “Wise” contrasts with the confidential tenderness of “100 Times”, but the nostalgic tones of “Girl Of the Year” and the rock flash of “Boots” reflect a desire for a fresh start without merely taking refuge in memories (“Too Late To Change”) summing up a whole life story in just ten songs.

In a year which has seen the rebirth of Dexys, there’s a risk that a record like “The End Of The Pier” might be undervalued. As with Kevin Rowland’s band, we’re not just talking about a pleasant sense of déjà vu packed with old sound sensations, but a declaration of authentic creativity which can’t be overlooked.

The Distractions aren’t yelling to make themselves heard, but their whisper reaches to the bottom of your heart.

(c) Onda Rock.

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