Echorich’s A Certain Ratio ICA covered the group’s career is such a fashion that an ICA from me probably isn’t necessary but ACR have such a wide ranging and high quality back catalogue that finding another ten songs isn’t difficult. It goes without saying that Do The Du, Shack Up and several some others that Echorich chose are essential. So are these.

Winter Hill

A two note ten minute tribute to a hill north of Manchester, site of an air crash and reputedly a strange drone, recreated by some skinny young Mancunians in 1981.

Wild Party

Like Do The Du and Shack Up this is the mutant funk that they made their name with pinned down by Donald Johnson’s drums and the monotone vocals of Jez Kerr. Dark grey music.

Knife Slits Water (12” version)

And another one, even stranger, more abstract funk but with blood pulsing through its veins.

The Runner

From an Italian ep release to promote a gig in Italy, driving drums and skronky brass.

Sounds Like Something Dirty

A 1985 12” single, this is what happens when punk goes jazz. Streets ahead.

Good Together

This is something else- a Lou Reed sample, a steal from the Beach Boys and a huge wobbly 808 squiggle. In 1989 Manchester was the centre of the known universe and with this song (and ep) A Certain Ratio were making records that were part of it.

Be What You Wanna Be

And on the ACR:MCR album they made a lost classic (due to be re-issued this year following their new deal with Mute.) Be What You Wanna Be is all drums and percussion and Denise Johnson.

Won’t Stop Loving You (Bernard Sumner Version)

Echorich rightly praised The Big E, a late 80s pop masterpiece. It was remixed by Bernard Sumner into a Hacienda dancefloor gem. The drum machine rat a tat tats, the backing vocals coo and Jez’s lovelorn vocals sound lovelier than ever. This version gets played more than the original round our way.

27 Forever

From the Rob’s Records period in the early 90s, a label set up by Rob Gretton. 27 Forever proved that they still had it (and their current run of gigs proves that even now they still have it.)


1992 saw an the release of the Up In Downsville LP. From that record, Mello is perfectly pitched house-pop of the kind that saw New Order become enormous (and wealthy). Meanwhile ACR all have day jobs.




  1. Thanks – this is a great spread of tracks with pithy descriptions. I’m off to see Jez Kerr in Newcastle on Saturday, appearing with Eric Random.

  2. Really interesting to see how the band morphed over time but still sounds just like themselves. Some great choices here, and a nice companion to the ER ACR ICA. Cheers.

  3. THANKS SA!!! We are on the same wavelength again! I left first four of your Volume off of mine because I felt they deserved to stand away from the songs the band was most associated with at that time. Winter Hill is one of the most evocative songs I have ever heard and Knife Slits Water IS the Mancunian cousin to ESG’s Bronx Classic Moody… The Runner synthesizes the band’s alt-funk/jazz with a pop form with gleaming precision. Be What You Wanna Be is like a Hot Summer Night block party at full throb. If I was able to slide in a hidden EXTRAS disc, I’d have to also include Son And Heir from The Graveyard And Ballroom era, stand alone single Flight, Salvador’s (Fish) from Up In Downsville and Fever from Force….MAN I WISH I WAS SEEING ACR WHILE I’M IN LONDON NEXT MONTH!!!!

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