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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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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Last Pop Group

This review of a Liverpool gig by Ian Wood is from NME, 21st April 1979, courtesy of their new History of Rock and Roll site [1].

The Distractions


The Distractions must be the ultimate Second Generation Manchester band.

While most of their confederates have concluded only one duff record deal, The Distractions have had three.

The first produced a still-born single which never appeared through various wrangles; their second was an EP for which they get royalties from the 6001st copy (guess how many were pressed?); happily their third dotted-line looks more hopeful, even if the producers of this upcoming effort are the same parties for the vinyl debut of the talking dog of That's Life infamy.

Ruff justice, what?

The same luck finds The Distractions sharing a bill with the UK Subs whose phenomenal lack of talent is only matched by their audience's total commitment to dismembering a hastily erected crash barrier.

The Distractions certainly provide a visual contrast to black leather and moody rebellion.

Stage centre, cuddly Mike Finney fulfills all the sartorial requirements of males at the Ritz, having foregone his usual silver lame in favour of a more discreet black satin.  Guitarist Steve Perrin is no less natty in suit, bassist Pipnicholls (her spelling) sports an amazing psychedelic pyjama top, a steal at ten pence from Marks and Sparks, which leaves the more muscular members of the band - Adrian Wright (guitar), veteran drummer Alex Sidebottom - looking distinctly threadbare either.

It's amazing such a motley crew can produce such a crisp demonstration of tuneful pop excellence, their own originals proving the missing link between oldies like 'What'cha Gonna Do 'Bout It?' and an abnormally good rensition of 'I'm Waiting For The Man'.

But while their concise approach is circa '65, the knowing glances and lyrical realism are right up to date.  For The Distractions, love is only a maybe, and the dreaming ceased a long time ago.  No the phones never ring, nobody can be trusted and nothing bothers 'em.  Got the picture?

And while the Shangri Las looked sadly into the sunset, The Distractions aim for retribution with the set's highlights, the terminal 'I'm Tired' and the hilarious 'Paracetamol Paralysis'.

It's a performance of A-sides only, firmly driven by Sidebottom's powerful drum attack and steered by Finney's gruff but distinctive vocals.

The Distractions are the Last Pop Group from Manchester at the boundaries of innocence and sly knowing.  Or as they put it succinctly...

I love Valerie / 
But Valerie loves you

Ian Wood

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