The Return of the Durutti Column


Though it might have been housed in a sleeve made out of sandpaper designed to destroy any album it was racked next to, the textures within The Durutti Column’s 1980 debut are anything but abrasive. Subtle virtuosity might not have been particularly voguish in punk-era Manchester, but much like Johnny Marr, a younger guitar protégé growing up a few miles away, guitarist Vini Reilly sucked up a range of influences across jazz, folk and classical to forge a harmonically complex, yet delicately beautiful style that made him one of the most unique players of his, or for that matter any other, generation. Reilly’s The Durutti Column were the first signings to Tony Wilson’s Factory Records, and on The Return Of… Factory’s in-house production genius Martin Hannett created a minimal framework onto which Reilly painted his instrumental masterpieces. But really, he needed no accompaniment to dazzle. Cascades of chiming arpeggios and jazzy chords flower and dance across these songs as Reilly creates intricate sound worlds with little more than his fingers and six strings. It’s perhaps little wonder that it was Reilly who Morrissey approached when he needed to fill the large, Marr-shaped void for his own post-Smiths debut, Viva Hate.

Chris Catchpole