A CERTAIN Ratio popped into Marc Riley's BBC 6Music show for a session in November and sounded really good.

It was terrific to hear them again.

Their appearance was tied into the release of two new tracks, Make It Happen and Dirty Boy, recorded in the band's home city of Manchester to be released with a new compilation, acr:set.

Hard to believe, but this year ACR celebrate their 40th anniversary and are putting out a new box set: acr:box, out on Mute on May 3, on vinyl, CD and digital. Acr:box is launched with a new acoustic version of Won’t Stop Loving You (aka The Big E) titled W.S.L.U., a recent collaboration with Parent’s Sarah Brandwood-Spencer (string arrangement) and Jason Brown (additional guitars).

Following on from 2018’s compilation, acr:set, the box showcases the diversity of the singles, B-sides and alternative versions of tracks that A Certain Ratio have released, but without repeating tracks recently made available. Acr:box collates everything that fans had been missing from the recent reissue campaign, and compliments that with a selection found after delving deep into the archive to find all the hidden gems that had been talked about over the years, but never heard - even apparently a few releases the band had forgotten about. Acr:box was remastered by Martin Moscrop at Abbey Road studios.

The band released their first, Martin Hannett-produced single for Tony Wilson's Factory Records in 1979 and following the success of their second single, Shack Up, went on to be hailed universally as pioneers of what became known as punk funk. All Night Party was Factory Records’ first single release.

A superbly stirring, danceable mix of funk, jazz, electronics, and deftly created shoe shuffling beats enhanced with brass, A Certain Ratio more or less followed their own musical compass.

The new release will also coincide with a series of dates, including a great night lined up for Barrow Underground Music Society on Saturday, April 27.

Also coming up is a two-day ACR festival at Yes, at Manchester, on May 24, (the anniversary of the actual release date of All Night Party) and May 25, with special guests joining ACR.