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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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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the Quietus - Black Velvet review

We've pulled out the Black Velvet EP review from last months' superb Mick Middles piece in the Quietus:

The Black Velvet EP kicks of with 'Black Velvet', a track drawn from those lost mid-'90s demos and the precise moment when the band finally discovered the depth of sound they had been searching for back in the Island days.  'Black Velvet' is simple lost love and, like 'Time Goes By So Slow', arrives from a place of heightened perception.  A man dreaming of a lost and fading love... wallowing perhaps but lifted by the rich Finney voice.  This is the music of a lost band, in a sense, as drummer Van Den Berg has been lost to the mysteries of South Africa while bassist Nick Gartside is now firmly encamped in LA, surfacing as mixer and polisher of the 2010 version of the band.  This truly international flavour has undoubtedly stretched the scope and is completed by the addition of a third songwriter in Nick Halliwell.  Confused?  Well, against the odds perhaps, The Distractions now sound more coherent than ever and these two EPs sit perfectly back to back... as a mini-album, perhaps.

The second track on Black Velvet, 'Still It Doesn't Ring' hails directly back to 1978 and yes, it is as obvious as the title suggests.  A touch of Undertones – always a close cousin, in so many ways – and a fresh attack at an aged tune.  A yearning pop blast... heartfelt although nothing... nothing in this ancient echo could prepare you for 'If You Were Mine', arguably Finney's greatest soulful moment...  I do not know of technical perfection but, in terms of sheer howl and angst, this links deeply to the Otis Redding who always sat so central in Finney's record collection.  Odd thing, I have to say, during the Secret Seven phase this was a voice that appeared to be weakening... not so now.  Does Mike Finney own the great lost voice of modern music?

(c) Mick Middles at the Quietus

Preview and purchase the Black Velvet digital EP & CD promo


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