The Mothmen: Pay Attention!

First CD issue of 1980 album by Mancunian post-punksters.

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Manchester’s The Mothmen had all kinds of unlikely connections. Three of the band had previously been in the Durutti Column, while vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bob Harding had been a member of 70s rock satirists Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias and would later run the reggae label Blood & Fire.

Members Chris Joyce and Tony Bowers went on to join Simply Red. It was guitarist Dave Rowbotham’s dodgy connections in the Manchester underworld that most likely did for him - he was found bludgeoned to death in his flat in 1991.

In 1980, however, they were The Mothmen, bearing all the hallmarks of the most advanced post-punk of the day: dub, as on Afghan Farmer Driving Cattle, recorded with the assistance of On-U Sound’s Adrian Sherwood, for whose label this was the second-ever release, Krautrock (The Can-like primitive rhythm looping of Mothman), and psychedelia on their previously unreleased version of Syd Barrett’s Vegetable Man, one of six bonus tracks here.

However, they lack the gravitas of bands such as Wire and Joy Division; the comic sensibility Harding brought with him from his Alberto days prevails on the mock-industrial soundscape Factory/Teapoint/Factory and titles such as Tardis (Sweep Is Dead, Long Live Sweep)./o:p

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.