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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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Sunday, August 11, 2013

The quintessential pure pop single

Here's another little piece thanks to NME's superb History of Rock and Roll.  Time Goes By So Slow is described as the perfect pure pop single, in this from the 22nd December 1979 issue of NME.  Later in the article, Factory Records and their cousin label down the East Lancs, Zoo Records, are hailed as the years' best.  Of course, Zoo's last release was current label-mates The Wild Swans' debut, the majestic Revolutionary Spirit.


The quintessential pure pop single/sensibility must have been the year's most sought-after cliche.  And, along with The Jam and The Undertones, surely nobody came closer to that ideal than Manchester's Distractions with the sublime 'Time Goes By So Slow' (Factory); all tingling electric guitars and heartfelt melancholy vocals.

The two best new labels - this year's Fast Products if you like - were Zoo in Liverpool and Factory in Manchester.

Zoo released a stream of colourful and eerie singles, the finest being Echo And The Bunnymen's ominous doom-laden ode to the eve-of-destruction 'Pictures On My Wall'.  On the same label came the Teardrop Explodes' two singles 'Sleeping Gas' and 'Bouncing Babies' which typified the Zoo sound; jaunty and danceable on one hand, but with more than a dash of evil and foreboding on the other.  Smart they were, though never too quirky nor clever-clever.

On Factory, besides The Distractions there was Joy Division following up one of the albums of the year with a single to match in the daunting 'Transmission'.  There was, too, A Certain Ratio's 'All Night Party', thick with a mesh of guitar, moody vocals and some of the year's more sinister lyrics.

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