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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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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Completely timeless

Mick Middles's piece in Sounds on 12th July 1980.

The Distractions


I DON'T LIKE the album.  What could and should have been a bundle of gleeful, granite-like, fresh-faced soul gems has turned out to be a merging mixture of gutless girl-hungry but passionless sorrow.  It's still a cut above the average but it has unfortunately missed greatness.

The album weeps where it should have screamed.  Another record company mistake, another case of dilution.

Nobody likes to knock the band, they are still beautifully wide-eyed and hopeful, but perhaps also a trifle worried as they find those magical chart placings so elusive.  If The Distractions can continue to write energetic painful whinings like 'Waiting For Lorraine' then success is (almost) inevitable.

As a live act, The Distractions always entertain.  Who could possibly fail to smile and move and enjoy?  Who could resist such innocence?  Even though it is a touch contrived.

Every number contains a gripping hook and a jagged dance beat as strong as anything around in this era of confusion.  The Distractions haven't changed much over the past two years, their confidence has increased, they now move around a lot more.  They appear to enjoy themselves despite a heavy touring schedule.  However, they still fail to experiment.

It seems strange that a band who, in the past, have played so many support sets to the likes of The Fall still seem terrified to take a gamble.

Even in Manchester  where they have developed into the city's largest local draw, they stick like honey to the smugness of a standard format.  It's almost annoying, they can't even surprise a violently involved local audience.  Be safe, be comfortable, be a Distraction.

For the unsussed, The Distractions make instantly memorable music that crosses The Undertones with Buzzcocks with Atlantic soul.  Their music is rough (live that is, not on the album where the edges have been smoothed down and covered with a sickly production gloss), raw but always cute.

Over the top flows the thick fruity voice of slim (30 inch waist eh?) Mike Finney.  One of the most distinctive voices in modern pop.  Their sound is completely timeless.  The Distractions could have appeared at any time over the last 25 years and not been out of place.  That's partly why devotees believe them to be unique.  It's also why they seem able to appeal to anyone from would-be left field revlutionaries to my mother.  Perhaps they are the final proof that the gap between the Dooleys and Throbbing  Gristle is really very narrow indeed.

Go and see The Distractions.  It's a pure guaranteed satisfaction.  Why take a chance?


(c) Mick Middles, Sounds, 1980.

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