The Names – Nightshift


Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

I’ve long been on record as Joy Division fanatic (and one of the few people in the world probably who loves Movement by New Order better than anything else they released). One of the reasons for this is the stellar musicianship in tandem with the ghostly echoes of Martin Hannett’s production work.  Like a geek I’ve collected everything Martin Hannett produced (it has only taken just shy of 20 years). My favorite band that he worked with besides Joy Division / New Order is The Names. The Names put out a few singles and a full length in the late 70’s / early 80’s – all gloomy post punk centered around bassist and songwriter Michel Smordynia. The bands 1982 single Nightshift (their 2nd overall) is a personal favorite as it bounces along on an eerie synth refrain and deadpan vocals. Is it the band or is it the producer? Always a valid question when Martin Hannett is involved and the answer is – yes. All parties involved in the creation of this track did a masterful job. Think of a band with a heavy Joy Division influence with less emotive vocals, and you are on the right track. The track itself peaked at #35 on the UK Indie Charts. The video matches the song perfectly and everything comes into focus as you sing along to these words:

Working a frightful nightshift
We’re just working a frightful nightshift

Everybody knows
That it’s just the way things go
Can’t eliminate desire
That explains the sad expression