Image by Paul Husband
Madonna opened for them at Danceteria in 1982 before anyone knew who she was. And in the film 24 Hour Party People, Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson refers to them as “Joy Division, but with better clothes.”
In fact, A Certain Ratio were Factory Records’ beacon of cool, five stylish Manchester blokes who played wickedly biting Anglo-funk, which was also rife with lacerating socio-political commentary. Indeed, “Shack Up” even went after the outmoded institution of marriage itself (“You can talk about the wedding ceremony / And I know its just a phony”).
ACR returned to live activity in the early oughts, eventually releasing the 2008 album Mind Made Up. But Mute Records began re-issuing their early records in 2018—ironic, since the label was an early “rival” of Factory, especially philosophically.
But at long last, today comes the announcement that the now trio of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson will release a new album of material this autumn, their first in a dozen years. And we have the first single, “Always in Love,” which layers their trademarked languid ennui over what could surely best be described as a classic Madchester groove. It would be packing all the most in-the-know dancefloors this summer, if there were actually going to be any.
A Certain Ratio’s ACR Loco will be released via Mute on September 25. Touring, of course, will be subjected to the new post-pandemic guidelines.