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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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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rock's lost treasures

From Rare Bird 9 in the US:

The Distractions were a quintet from Manchester, England who recorded only one album.  That 1980 album, Nobody's Perfect, has long been out of print, and it's our loss.  The band split up in early 1981, after the album failed to attract much attention.  Their commercial failure wasn't caused by a lack of effort.  Their small body of work demonstrated that these new-wavers were avid students of music history, and they skillfully applied their knowledge to their own enjoyable music. 

The Distractions - "You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That" EP          (TJM 2) 1978

Before recording their one full-length album, the Distractions released a few singles and a 4-song EP in the U.K.  The 1978 EP, titled You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That, already showed that they did not intend to limit themselves to the usual new wave sounds.  These four songs (one of which, "Nothing", was remade for the album) show influences including Elvis Costello, early Kinks, early Byrds (singer Mike Finney sounds uncannily like Gene Clark on this EP), and dashes of surf-rock and psychedelia.  And this was just a rough warm-up for the album to come.

The Distractions - "Nobody's Perfect" (Island ILPS 9604) 1980

Nobody's Perfect is easy to identify as a new wave album of its time. "Paracetamol Paralysis" and "Valerie" are punk gems; "Waiting For Lorraine" and "Untitled" have the punk attitude, if not necessarily its ethos.  But The Distractions took an educated approach to new wave without over-intellectualizing it.  Nobody's Perfect draws inspiration from all three decades of rock and roll that preceded it.  The band emulated everyone from Buddy Holly ("Wonder Girl", "Still It Doesn't Ring") to Phil Spector girl groups ("Boys Cry", "Looking For A Ghost") to Elvis Costello ("Something For The Weekend") and the Talking Heads ("Sick And Tired").  The wistful "Leave You To Dream" sounds like the Cars interpreting the third Velvet Underground album.  Finney's sincere and sometimes somber vocals give many of the songs unexpected emotional depth.  A unique and eclectic album from an intelligent and sophisticated band, Nobody's Perfect is truly one of rock's lost treasures.

Track Listings:


1. Doesn't Bother Me
2. Nothing
3. Maybe It's Love
4. Too Young


1. Waiting For Lorraine
2. Something For The Weekend
3. Boys Cry
4. Sick And Tired
5. Leave You To Dream
6. Louise
7. Paracetamol Paralysis
8. (Stuck In A) Fantasy
9. Nothing
10. Wonder Girl
11. Still It Doesn't Ring
12. Untitled
13. Looking For A Ghost
14. Valerie


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