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The Mothmen / On-U Sound

Press summary for The Mothmen / On-U Sound has received great support for a specialist reissue, especially in the UK, including 'reissues of the year so far' plaudits from Mojo and The Vinyl Factory. The Penny Black review is also worth noting as a lovely personal take on the record from someone who was there at the time, including a story about chasing round customs in Morocco to secure a cassette copy!

See below current press releases

BBC 6 Music - spot plays from Stuart Maconie on The Freak Zone and Jarvis Cocker on the Sunday Service.

The following features and reviews have been published since the last update:

“Pay Attention! was emblematic of a DIY scene that was prepared to push sonic and structural boundaries in the studio and on the stage. Manchester was finding its own sound and The Mothmen, like many other short-lived outfits, played a crucial part in the broader story.” – The Vinyl Factory (band feature picking their favourite post-punk records from Manchester)

“It’s high time someone paid attention to this strange post-punk artefact.” – The Vinyl Factory (10 best reissues of the year so far)

“This is amazing. If you like sixties psychedelia, Syd Barrett and early Pink Floyd, Delia Derbyshire and electronica, Captain Beefheart and dub, this is for you.” – Penny Black Music
“The Mothmen managed to out-weird their 80s post-punk peers.” – Mojo

“The group’s debut, Pay Attention!, a mix of dub and angular guitars, has now been remastered and re-released, sounding like a great mix of Liars and Wire…” – M Magazine (interview with band)

“Outsider music for outsider people - a very very good album. Let it seep into you, lose yourself within its alt-universe and definitely, Pay Attention!!!!” – Louder Than War

“Sampling a variety of late ‘70s British musical trends while somehow transcending them all. We need more music this jagged, challenging, and gleefully absurd in the world.” – Pop Matters

Subject: The Mothmen / On-U Sound / Press Round-Up Pt.2

"Intergalactically chill dub reggae turns on a dime into anxiety-riddled Kraftwerk impressions. Even at their stoner goofiest the band had a knack for channeling a particular kind of electric discordant charge that gave their work an unpredictable but potent vibrancy—the same kind of crackle that you get from acts like Thee Oh Sees and Liars" – Pitchfork

“On the stand-out “Mothman”, it’s as if Space Ritual-era Hawkwind have been taken to a mountain in Morocco and forced to jam with local percussionists. The track is this good. Elsewhere, the Public Image Ltd. of “Careering” are given a similar north-African makeover. This loopy album has to be heard.” – The Arts Desk

“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.” – The Line Of Best Fit

“The surf-rock bass and cod-superhero calls of “Vegetable Man, where are you?” make “Vegetable Man” sound like the Who of A Quick One or Sell Out, while “Does It Matter Irene?” comes on like Joy Division on a North African music binge.” – Glass Magazine

“This hard-edged, post-punk lost classic has finally emerged into the light. The highlight of the album, “Mothman”, lays a repetitive, almost trance-like blanket over your mind. With slowly mutating Burundi drums and distorted guitar riffs, there is a hypnotic feel to the track which holds the listener in its grasp” – Scootering Magazine


Pay Attention! stands as a great example of not only a band, but how a whole genre was establishing itself, experimenting with different influences and creating a sound they could call their own.” – Backseat Mafia


“Great work on the Mothmen reissue. One of my few missing pieces of the On-U jigsaw. Loving it!” – JD Twitch / Optimo



“Wonderful and frightening psych-tinged post-punk by former Durutti Column men. Heavy Dub, reverb-drenched drums, scratchy guitars and skronking sax. This generously appended reissue includes label boss Adrian Sherwood’s stunning stripped-back remix Afghani Dub.” – Mojo“Unheralded post-punk dubgasm comes to light. They made little headway with these loose grooves at the time, but 34 years on from its release, Pay Attention! Is compellingly eerie – the missing link between the tinpot Can of Swell Maps and trustafari jewel Return Of The Giant Slits. “Afghan Farmer Driving Cattle” is Augustus Pablo meets rockers up the Arndale Centre, Beefheart battles Beatles on “Not Moving”, while the side-long “Mothman” ramps up the Tago Mago terror.” - Uncut

Pay Attention! is an angular, jittery pop record, with just enough weirdness to wander into the realm of psychedelia. Everybody from Liars to Battles to Deerhoof and the Dirty Projectors owe a great debt to the Mothmen's interlocking riffs and rhythms, whether they know it or not.” – Vice

“Pay Attention’s 7 original tracks zigzag wilfully from the spacy dub-inclined “Afghan Farmer Driving Cattle” to the Sister Ray-esque 20-minute denouement of “Mothman”. This expanded reissue significantly ups the quality quotient by adding 6 decent previously unreleased tracks, including an energised cover of Syd Barrett’s “Vegetable Man” – Record Collector

“For half of the LP The Mothmen actually sound like The Slits. Stinky, funky, improvised, anti-Rock, non-music, with a heavy b-line. “Typical Girls” with more cowbell. This Heat with Duane Eddy riffs. The Flying Lizards meet Gong. Tapes run backwards, speed up, slow down. A failing car ignition serves for percussion behind a squealing No-Wave sax.” – Test Pressing

Pay Attention! is one of the greatest psych, dub and post-punk driven records of the early ’80s. The influences are wide ranging, incorporating elements from a shape shifting realm of bands such Talking Heads, Gang of Four, Ghost Culture, Public Image Ltd, Magma, Syd Barrett, Can and much more. Sax blasts, wild usage of guitar pedals, primal jungle esque drum tracks. The music is powerful, raw and honest, produced with an intensity for compositional density that is unparalleled for the early ’80s… it’s without a doubt one reissue we feel you can’t go without this year.” – Sound Colour Vibration

Vinyl (ONULP2) and CD (ONUCD2) editions are available to order now. Both formats come with 6 bonus tracks, and fully annotated with sleevenotes and memorabilia from the band members.

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Chris Joyce drummer


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