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the official distractions website

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, April 14, 2017

Unfinished business

The official release date of 12th May is still a month away, but 'Kindly Leave The Stage' (order direct from Occultation here) has already been garnering some lovely press. Here's a piece at Flight of Pegasus - Full Metal Radio:


    THE DISTRACTIONS


    New album "Kindly Leave The Stage" out on May 12th!


    After achieving some sort of world record by leaving a 32-year gap between the release of their first and second albums – 1980’s 'Nobody’s Perfect' and 2012’s 'The End Of The Pier' – The Distractions have sped things up and now, after a gap of less than five years, release their third (and final) album, 'Kindly Leave The Stage'.

    The story of The Distractions – from Manchester punk era legends to critically-rated pop geniuses to a quarter century of silence, and then a more-than-slight return with a 21st century album of grown-up, wise, elegiac guitar music – is also the story of Mike Finney, one of the great blue-eyed soul voices, and Steve Perrin, a guitarist whose sense of melody and lightness is the perfect counterfoil to Finney’s emotional grit. Mike and Steve have been the core of The Distractions for 40 years, from the thrash of 'It Doesn’t Bother Me' and the Factory Records classic 'Time Goes By So Slow' to the maturity of 'The End Of The Pier' and, now, the superb 'Kindly Leave The Stage'.

    It’s been a long, strange trip. Not every band gets a third act. “The classic narrative structure is beginning-middle-end so three seemed like the right number,” says Steve. “Also I thought it was important to formally say 'goodbye', both to the fans and to each other.”

    Mike agrees. “It’s a fond farewell to each other, which had me in tears a few times. I hope it isn’t a deathbed confession, I’ve gotta whole lotta livin’ to do yet.”

    With the assistance of new(ish) Distraction Nick Halliwell, the band’s sound may be more introspective and stripped-down, but The Distractions are still The Distractions. “The Distractions have always been an unalloyed delight,” says Nick, and that sense of a band who are also a group of friends shines through here. From the Buzzcocks-via-Scott Walker wistfulness of 'Wake Up And Kiss Me Goodbye' to the gorgeous, Ray Davies-y 'The End Of The Pier', this is a record which mixes thoughtfulness with throwaway brilliance and melancholy with melody.

    “Nick asked me what the key word for the album was,” says Steve, “And I said 'resignation', in both senses. Although there's a real sadness in saying 'goodbye' to something that has been a hugely significant part of our lives I don't think it's all doom and gloom.”

    Mike adds, “I think that there was a lot of unfinished business after the first album, and I feel lucky that we got the chance to complete it properly.”

    The Distractions, not so much a great lost band as a great found band, are taking a final bow. Time to appreciate what they were and what they are.


    Thursday, April 6, 2017

    Heartaches will eventually pass

    Here's a lovely early review of 'Kindly Leave The Stage' from RareBird in the US:

    The Distractions - 'Kindly Leave The Stage' (2017)


    March 15, 2017

    The Distractions were an unjustly overlooked band from Manchester, England, who recorded only one full-length album, 1980's 'Nobody's Perfect', during their original run. They broke up in 1981 after failing to achieve commercial success, but there have been a number of Distractions reunions in recent years, featuring original singer Mike Finney and original guitarist Steve Perrin. A new lineup released a second Distractions album, titled 'The End Of The Pier', in 2012 -- 32 years after the debut album. And now, the Distractions are about to issue their third -- and, they say, final -- album, titled 'Kindly Leave The Stage', on May 12, 2017.

    Although the album’s official release date is two months away, the album can be pre-ordered from the Occultation Recordings website. Some of the packages offered also include a 10-inch vinyl EP called 'Go Dark', which is limited to 250 copies. There might still be time to obtain one!

    'Kindly Leave The Stage' was recorded over the course of three days in September of 2015. It was produced by Nick Halliwell, the head of Occultation Recordings, who also played guitar. The rhythm section consisted of Arash Torabi from Granite Shore on bass, and Ian Henderson from The Puddle on drums.

    'Kindly Leave The Stage' lies in the same basic mellow pop vein as 'The End Of The Pier', but is even more laid back, suggesting that Finney and Perrin had mellowed even further with age during the few years in between. The first two tracks (A Few Miles More and Last To Leave) have just a minimum of adult-alternative vigor. The rest of the tracks have a mostly understated tone, a middle ground between American country music and indie pop. The instrumentation moves at a relaxed and deliberate pace for most of the album. Aside from one striking side trip into baroque pop territory (Wake Up And Kiss Me Goodbye), most of the songs are of a melancholy nature, which has always been The Distractions' forte. But where vocalist Mike Finney once came across like a heartbroken young man, he now seems to sing from the point of view of an older man who has lived and learned, and who now realizes that heartaches will eventually pass. On songs such as The Fire and Nowhere, Finney sounds calmly accepting of the fact that passion fades away over time. The latter song possibly alludes to one of the early Distractions singles, with the lyrics: “I know we used to think that time went by too slow, Now there’s nothing left to do and there’s nowhere left to go”. Finney comes on like a moody Johnny Cash on The Connection’s Dropped Again, whose title sounds like a modern variation on Still It Doesn’t Ring. The overall tone of the album does support the claim that it is meant to be The Distractions' swan song, but it is not an overly emotional goodbye. Rather, it is painted as a sad but expected part of life. When the opening track contains a line like “I haven’t felt like this since Elvis Presley died”, it would suggest that Finney and Perrin certainly do hate to see The Distractions come to its final end, but they seem grateful to have been given the opportunity to issue a proper farewell. True to its title, 'Kindly Leave The Stage' serves as a quiet and graceful exit.

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