The Mothmen emerged in 1979 from the break-ups of two Manchester bands. Bob Harding and Tony Bowers had been members of Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias. Chris Joyce and Dave Rowbotham had been in an early line-up of Durutti Column (with whom Bowers had also played).
“Pay Attention!” was originally released in 1981, the second LP on Adrian Sherwood`s ON-U Sound. Chris Joyce could be found drumming on contemporary ON-U sessions with London Underground, Judy Nylon, and ON-U collaborators Suns Of Arqa (the SOA track “Return Of The Mozabites” is included in this reissue). It`s important to point out that Sherwood did not produce or mix “Pay Attention!” The set had been recorded but was without a home, and a mutual deal was struck to try to raise some much needed funds. You could however be forgiven for thinking that Adrian`s genius was more directly involved. “Afghan Farmer Driving Cattle” in particular is an accurate Punk approximation of Tubby`s Hi-Fi. Horns, loose rattles and sharp guitar shards are shaken, atomized, by echo. 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 Duanne 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. The other half of “Pay Attention!” is given over to the twenty-minute atonal jam of “Mothman”. An abrasive yet hypnotic, spiral of rhythmic banging. A psychedelic cacophony. Imagine a Punk Can.
Post-The Mothmen, Rowbotham tragically found notoriety as the victim of an unsolved murder (and was subsequently immortalized on Happy Mondays` feted “Yes Please”), Tony Bowers and Chris Joyce went on to join Simply Red, while Bob Harding ran the highly respected Reggae reissue label, Blood & Fire.
As part of ON-U Sound`s reissue campaign, The Mothmen`s expanded “Pay Attention!” should be in shops now.