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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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Monday, August 27, 2012

The great lost voice of English rock

This month's Record Collector is a veritable Distractions special, with this fine review, a Q&A article with Steve Perrin, not to mention being named on the front cover.  The review is another 4-star affair, this time from Mark Brend (note the deliberate mistake regarding the move from Factory Records):

The Distractions

The End Of The Pier

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Occultation | YMIR 7 DC 017 (CD / LP)

Another 2012 Mancunian comeback

The enterprising Devon-based Occultation label is carving a niche for itself by reanimating post-punk pop outsiders.  Last time out it was Liverpool’s Wild Swans, now it’s the turn of Manchester’s Distractions, a brief and anomalous presence on Factory back in 1979, before a move to Virgin resulted in a sole album in 1980.  Fast-forward a few decades and core members Mike Finney (vocals) and Steve Perrin (guitar) reconvened in Exeter to record their belated second album, produced by Occultation boss Nick Halliwell and blessed with the considerable presence of drummer Mike Kellie (Only Ones and Spooky Tooth).

The Distractions minted a sort of widescreen garage guitar pop first time around, which survives here, as hard to pigeonhole now as it was then.  Finney is one of the great lost voices of English rock and, with a freshness and energy that belies his years, he’s the band’s ace card.  Trading lines with Perrin on Halliwell’s Wise, the album’s strongest song, he achieves a high poignancy.  Elsewhere, 100 Times fleetingly conjures up images of an English Springsteen driving a transit van on the M62, which is a good thing.  Signing off with The Last Song, Finney gravely intones, “This is the last song I’ll ever sing.”  We can only hope not.

Mark Brend

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