The boys are back in town
The Buzzcocks

The Buzzcocks formed as a direct reaction to READING about The Sex Pistols.

That’s Punk Rock.

The Buzzcocks saw Punk as Art – a new type of art you didn’t need a degree to attempt.

That’s Punk Rock.

The Buzzcocks politics were strictly personal.

That’s Punk Rock.

The Buzzcocks kick started the whole independent scene with their debut self-financed “Spiral Scratch” EP.

That’s Punk Rock.

The Buzzcock’s original singer (Howard Devoto) left the band because Punk was becoming too popular - in 1977.

How Punk Rock is that (just check the essential historical document of the day – “Times Up” – a “bootleg” now available on CD through Mute Records)?

The Buzzcocks official debut LP, “Another Music In Another Kitchen”, was a Punk Rock classic. It utilised much of the band’s early material co-written with Devoto alongside new Shelly penned pop gems: “Get On Your Own” & “I Don’t Mind”. By late 1977 The Buzzcocks were firmly established at the forefront of the 1st Wave of UK Punk Rock.

1978 & 1979 were the Buzzcock’s best years in terms of commercial success. A string of hit singles (all included on the essential “Singles Going Steady” compilation) & 2 further LPs (“Love Bites” & “A Different Kind Of Tension”) meant that The Buzzcocks were never that far away from the charts, TOTPs or a radio. The party lasted until 1981 when the band split during the recording of their 4th LP.

The Buzzcocks reconvened in 1989 for a world tour. In 1993 original members, Pete Shelley & Steve Diggle, recruited Tony Barber (bass) & Phil Barker (drums) & began gigging & recording. Three LPs followed: “Trade Test Transmissions” (1993), “All Set” (1996) & “Modern” (1999).

14/4/03 sees the release of the 7th Buzzcocks studio LP - & what a fucking corker it is too. Entitled “Buzzcocks”, the LP is available through Cherry Red Records.

Featuring 12 cuts in 35 minutes, “Buzzcocks” is a stunning collection of caustic Punk Pop wonderment. Five songs apiece from Shelley & Diggle, & two credited to Shelley/Devoto.

The first thing you’ll notice about “Buzzcocks” is how fucking hard it is. Chunky production courtesy of Tony Barber, gtrs the size of Trafford Park & the kind of tunes that made Shelley/Devoto/Diggle the living legends they are today.

Of the Shelley tunes, “Jerk” is up there with “Love You More” – it even opens with the drum coda to “You Tear Me Up” & features plenty of the sonic trickery employed elsewhere on “Another Music In A Different Kitchen” (by the way, Cherry Red, this should be a single – you know? With a plugger working it – just add airplay - it’s a fucking HIT).

The inclusion of “Stars” & “Lester Sands” are also worthy of note – the former being a re-recording of “Till The Stars In His Eyes Are Dead” from the Devoto/Shelley “Buzzkuntz” LP – the latter being a reworking of a cut from that essential bootleg mentioned at the top of the piece: “Times Up”. Both cuts are worth the admission price alone.

Of the Diggle cuts, “Driving You Insane” & “Sick City Sometimes” blend power, pop & punch with lyrical intelligence & the fine art of actually having something to say.

By the time we reach the Shelley penned closer, “Useless”, we’re left in little doubt that the stars have now fallen from the Buzzcocks collective eyes & that the motives behind this release are as ultimately admirable as this band are fucking un-stop-able.

“Buzzcocks” has totally taken this old school Punk by surprise – who says that just because y’re over 40 y’re best years are behind you. If you still feel motivated – get up, get active & get involved.

Now that IS Punk Rock.

Jean Encoule – 03/03
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