Manicured Noise  MANICURED NOISE



If my memory serves me well, you can find me later that year 1979, in our kitchen, doing my homework, and Manicured Noise are in session on Kid Jensen's early evening show. I recall something special, but will probably never have the chance to know for sure.  (Kevin Carney- Tangents)

Caroline True Records are proud to present a Manicured Noise retrospective, Northern Stories 1978/80. Released October 30th, the album gathers together for the first time almost all of their recordings including their two singles for Pre/Charisma Records, a BBC session and a wealth of unreleased material.

This enigmatic act formed in Manchester in 1978, the very early days of the band remain a mystery. Given their name by prime Manc scenester and friend of Morrissey, Linder, the group peddled a form of spiky and angular Jazz Punk. Jeff Noon, acclaimed sci-Fi writer (Vurt) was an early member of the group, adding to the particular retro-futurist edge they displayed, forged in the early 80’s musical melting pot that was the Hulme estate.  

Inspired by New York, Television, Ornette Coleman, Talking Heads, August Darnells' Machine, French Soundtracks and Disco Chic-along with a nod to Northern Soul and Moroder, the band cut a singular groove. Early hours inspiration from 70’s cop and Kung-Fu soundtracks were incorporated, a good 10 years or more before Massive Attack and Portishead did the same. In doing so, Manicured Noise created a sound that’s still difficult to pin down.

“Factory have expressed an interest in the Distractions, the Negatives and current musicians’ favourites, Manicured Noise. (Ask Vic Goddard, the Banshees; Wire what they think of M Noise. Politely of course”. (Paul Morley NME Dec 1978)

Guitarist and later period frontman Steven Walsh (original vocalist Gavin was sacked) was an ex member of the Flowers of Romance, a legendary pre-Pistols vehicle for a certain Sid Vicious, and various members of the Slits and Banshees.

A stringer for the NME and post-punk zine Zig-Zag, he bought an experimental and funky ethos to the band.

“Primitive funk learned by copying Chic singles played at 33 rpm” (Simon Reynolds-Rip it Up)

Faith, one of the two 1980 Pre singles was acclaimed on release, its Northern backbeat acknowledging the Manchester debt. A BBC session followed.

'Faith', one of the great lost pop classics of that time along with 'Tell Me Why' by Life and 'Revolutionary Spirit' by Wild Swans. 'Faith' is as fatalistic as Subway Sect's 'Ambition' (a close cousin) and as purposeful as Dexy's 'Dance Stance' (a blood brother), and that's about all you need to know. (Kevin Carney-Tangents)

Then, nothing. Almost written out of the Manchester story, this compilation will hopefully redress the balance, telling the tale of a band that were on the fringes of the Factory elite (They shared a rehearsal room with Joy Division), but always creating their own script for the future.

As Steven Walsh suggests:

“Had we stayed together that little bit longer, who knows what might have been? “

Northern Stories 1978/80 comes with rare memorabilia and sleevenotes by Steven Walsh of Manicured Noise in a deluxe 8 page digi- pack. 

Price-£10.50 each inc UK P+P
Overseas customers please mail for price inc P+P/Shipping.
Cheque or PO to:

John Kertland
Caroline True Records
Gravel Hill Farm

OR Paypal payment to
CD TRACKS: Refer to cover artwork CD for recording details/dates


Commenting is closed for this article.