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Mancunian post punks The Mothmen seek attention for a second time as their 1981 LP gets reissued

"Pay Attention!"

Release date: 01 June 2015
The Mothmen Pay Attention
12 June 2015, 13:30 Written by Chris Todd
The Mothmen, a Mancunian four piece - three thirds of which made up Factory Records act The Durutti Colum and had involvement in the early material of Manchester dub collective Suns of Arqa - are one of those peculiar acts that time quickly forgot.

Actually, their luck was so bad that they were almost forgotten during the short period of time they were active, as they went through the all too familiar tale of recorded albums and folded labels. With a record in the bag, the now legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood took the band on and their LP became the second release on his On U Sound label. Although not produced by Sherwood, the sounds we know him for are all over Pay Attention!.

Born from post-punk, the angular riffs and vocal howls are driven by an impressive rhythm section (Chris Joyce – Drums, Tony Bowers – bass) who excelled in tribal percussion and thick syrupy basslines. They were a rhythm section who also spent five years in Simply Red during their peak of commercial success, though the sound of that particular hit making machine sounds a million miles away from the sounds here. You can almost smell the thick fug of hash, while the occasional bum note makes for a refreshingly organic listen.

They flit from smoky dub (“Afghan Farmer Driving Cattle”), to esoteric re-imaginations of early Talking Heads (“Animal Animaux”) with comparative ease, while the stoner boogie of “Please Let Go” is a pre-cursor to the bass heavy alt-pop of early ‘80’s acts like A Certain Ratio, Pylon and ESG.

Ttwenty minute centrepiece “Mothman” takes their sound into more complex areas inhabited by the likes of Can and Captain Beefheart, while the cover of Syd Barrett’s “Vegetable Man” takes the freak-beat of the original and twists it into something much more robust, similar to the kind of sounds the likes of Gang Of Four and Wire were making at the time.

Of course, commercial, nor critical success came to The Mothmen, although “Does It Matter Irene” now sounds like a forgotten surprise top twenty hit. But now, thirty four years after its original release, its ramshackle influence can be heard in the sounds from the likes of The Futureheads, LCD Soundsystem and Ty Segall at his most difficult.

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