Manchester band The Distractions released their sole album, ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, on the Island label in 1980. They had already issued an EP on TJM and a single on Factory Records. ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, despite rave reviews, being a perfect pop record and issued by Island, failed to sell. The band eventually split. It was some thirty-two years before the core of guitarist Steve Perrin and singer Mike Finney got back together as The Distractions and released the second Distractions album, ‘The End Of The Pier’, on Nick Halliwell’s Occultation Records label ; by this time Halliwell was an essential part of the reformed Distractions. A third album and the band’s last to date, ‘Kindly Leave The Stage’, was released in 2017, again on Occultation.

‘Nobody’s Perfect’ has never been issued on CD despite sterling efforts by former Island Head of Press Neil Storey, who was planning a massive retrospective on his Hidden Masters label. Sadly the project never materialised. Eventually Halliwell was contacted by Nick Stewart of Man In The Moon Records; Stewart originally signed The Distractions to Island back in 1980. Things were beginning to move again…

Now forty years later, ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ is finally available again. Occultation and Man In The Moon have joined forces to produce a 2-CD set and a vinyl version. The vinyl version is newly remixed by Nick Halliwell (more on that later) and mastered by Halliwell and Jason Mitchell, it features the fourteen tracks from the original album only. The 2-CD set is where things get interesting. CD 1 features the original mix of ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ plus the non-album Island singles, the ‘And Then There’s…’ EP (including 'Twenty-Four Hours') and ‘Leave Me’ from the ‘Fools Rush In…’ compilation.

CD 2 includes four previously unreleased demos, the ‘You’re Not Going Out Dressed Like That’ EP, the classic Factory single ‘Time Goes By So Slow’ / 'Pillow Fight’, along with remixes of ‘Doesn’t Bother Me’/ ‘One Way Love’ and the whole of ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ by Halliwell.

It’s still baffling as to why the original album sold so poorly. My original copy of 'Nobody’s Perfect’ hangs on the wall alongside a few other albums that were played so much as to render them virtually unplayable now, so this reissue has been a long time coming for me. I have never understood those fans who complain about remixes. Let’s take The Beatles as an example: the new mixes of some of their albums, and the 5.1 mixes, have been derided by some, as it’s sacrilege to mess with perfection. I disagree, as I think it lends a whole new listening experience to familiar and loved albums. Even the new stereo mixes offer something fresh.

I respect Nick Halliwell and truly believe if it hadn’t been for him then the final two Distractions albums would probably not have seen the light of day. They are both classics. Halliwell’s own music project The Granite Shore have, in ‘Suspended Second’, produced one of the most important and enjoyable albums of any decade (and their other album ‘Once More From The Top’ is another gem), so I think Halliwell more than anyone has the right, experience and knowledge to remix ‘Nobody’s Perfect’.

Maybe it’s because I’m too familiar with the original mix, maybe I’m out of time, but to my ears the original mix is the best. I’m in the minority, I’ve played the new mix to friends all younger than myself and without fail they all prefer Halliwell's mix. So he has obviously done what he maybe set out to do; make the album more attractive to newer ears, in the hope that this time they will go out and buy the album. I hope so and will give the new mix more plays before I go back to the original. But whatever the mix, it’s more than great to have this album available once again and with those extra bonus tracks on the CD it’s an essential purchase.

The one misstep on ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ (again, I’m in the minority here) is the only cover version on the album. Eden Kane’s ‘Boys Cry’ always seemed out of place amongst such strong originals. It’s not the actual song (I bought Kane’s version on release, I started young) but the Spectorian production seems over the top and out of sync with the rest of the album. The edgy pop of songs like ‘Waiting For Lorraine’, ‘Paracetamol Paralysis’ and ‘Louise’ is nicely balanced with the ballads ‘Looking For A Ghost’ (surely one of the best love lost songs ever) and ‘Still It Doesn’t Ring’, while ‘Wonder Girl’ and ‘(Stuck In A) Fantasy’ are perfect pop songs. In fact the whole album is perfect, with just that one exception.

The bonus tracks on the CD are worth the price of admission alone. The non-album Island single ‘It Doesn’t Bother Me’ still sounds fresh blasting out of the speakers forty years later, even in the original mix. To finally have a decent-sounding ‘Time Goes By So Slow’ after all these years, ‘Twenty-Four Hours’ on CD at last, the list of goodies is almost endless.

We can only hope that ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ will now get the attention it so rightly deserved all those years ago; there’s nothing here that the members of The Distractions can’t be proud of. Who knows, if Halliwell’s remix does attract a new generation of fans, might The Distractions be tempted just once more to cut some new material?











Related Links:

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