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The Distractions - Come Home EP (Occultation U.K.)

The Distractions - Come Home EP (Occultation U.K.)
17 January 2011

The trend of bands from the late ‘70s/’80s reforming and doing work that doesn’t embarrass their halcyon days continues! The latest exhibit is this unheralded but quite excellent pop group from the late ‘70s Manchester underground that made a sterling single for the famous Factory label at that label’s peak before heading off to major label Island for a few years and an LP, and then breaking up in 1981. Along with a brand new Black Velvet EP (recorded in the mid-90s during a previous reformation), also for Occultation, Come Home represents the first time they’ve been heard from in 29 years, and principal members Mike Finney (vocals) and Steve Perrin (guitar) plug right back into their blend of their city’s original energetic post-punk melodicism mixed with 1979 Liverpool’s softer indie-pop romanticism. They are also ably assisted by Nick Halliwell, whose own Granite Shore released 2010’s best single on this same label, “Flood of Fortune,” working with Phil Wilson (having worked with Liverpool’s Wild Swans on his previous single—this younger orchestral-pop fan sure knows his U.K. music history!), along with a new rhythm section. The second and third tracks, “Nicole” and Halliwell’s own “Oil Painting,” are both mellow in a light Orange Juice mode (albeit with Finney’s more drama-laced vocals), but the lead song “Lost” is the notable here. With a mix of acoustic guitars strumming, lead guitar picking, warm and insistent piano, and a strident tempo, it should tickle fans of New Zealand’s Flying Nun label, and those who like their pop to tickle and tease a little behind a very strong chorus melody. Welcome back Distractions! (