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Thursday, February 3, 2011

British new wave

Lo and behold, 32 years after its release, The Distractions' debut EP You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That, is still receiving attention.  Produced by Brandon Leon and engineered by Phil Bush at Arrow Sound studio, Manchester, in November 1978, it really is one of the finest debut records of its time.  In this review, Rune (aka Magic Moments) at Rate Your Music (where it is currently rated as 1978's second finest EP) agrees:

 TJM2 sleeve design by Alan Adler.

Finally!  I don’t know the last time I found a truly great new wave record.  Probably some 25 years ago.  But here it is: the glorious debut EP from The Distractions, incredibly titled You’re Not Going Out Dressed Like That.  From the opening lines of “Well, some people try to just make other people sad/ But you don’t try so you can’t be so bad/ You’ve got too much pride and too little to do/ And what you want to wear is all that matters to you/ I suppose the tedium will drive you mad” the theme of love is treated from refreshingly new angles, and in the voice of Mike Finney you believe every word. 

The first two tracks, ‘Doesn’t Bother Me’ and ‘Nothing,’ were later rerecorded in more polished versions, but these original takes may after all be the better ones.  For instance, I just love the way the rhythm guitars keep churning with a wonderful ‘dusty’ sound on ‘Nothing’.  However, my favourite is ‘Maybe It’s Love’, actually, the most listened to track in my iTunes library: What a killer!  The melody line of the final track, ‘Too Young’, is definitely not as strong as on the other tracks, but being more punk than new wave it still works great as a closer.  Overall, You’re Not Going Out… can compete with anything in the new wave / pop punk area: Costello, Buzzcocks, The Undertones, Blondie, whatever.  Utterly unfair that it didn’t sell and too bad for all of us that it has been as good as unavailable for ages.  But sometimes life is kind, you know, and all four tracks (as well as the classic Factory single Time Goes By So Slow and tracks from the Black Velvet sessions, this autumn's excellent comeback EP, will be included on the forthcoming Nothing album.  If you’re into British new wave you’re in for a treat.


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