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The Buzzcocks
Albums

  • Singles Going Steady,
  • Another Music In A,
  • Different Kitchen,
  • Love Bites,








  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    The Buzzcocks

    Related Artists - The Fall, The Clash, The Cute Lepers
    Related Genres - Alternative

    Singles Going Steady 9 ( 1980 )
    Orgasm Addict / What Do I Get? / I Don't Mind / Love You More / Ever Fallen In Love / Promises / Everybody's Happy Nowadays / Harmony In My Head / What Ever Happened To? / Oh Shit! / Autonomy / Noise Annoys / Just Lust / Lipstick / What Can't I Touch It? / Somethings Gone Wrong Again

    The initial batch of Punk bands taking their cue from The Sex Pistols seemed to copy the angry, polictical stance of The Pistols. The Buzzcocks thought to combine the energy and spirit of punk with pop music melodies and song construction. The Buzzcocks punk-pop subsequently proved to be hugely influential as a result. This collection of Singles and select album highlights has, through the years, been the starting point for the majority of people curious about the band and their music. It's a superb summary of the best aspects of the band. So many songs here seem to tap into that magical pop music source, acheiving effortlessly what many bands try to conciously acheive yet fail to do so. Despite having so many worthy pop contenders, The Buzzcocks managed relatively few hit songs during their lifetime. The obvious song that is still picked out by radio stations to this day, and their biggest hit, remains the glory that is 'Ever Fallen In Love?'. It has a universal theme of course, through the lyrics. It has an instantly recognizable and striking guitar introduction, always the hallmark of a classic pop song. The vocals start soon enough into the songs progress that the listener continues listening and continues to be hooked. The song follows a simple enough verse chorus verse method and ends with a classic brief pop fanfare. What more could you ask for? Well, crisp melodic guitars and vocals that are perfectly placed within the overall sound? Well, yeah. We get that too.

    Oh, a good compilation often convincingly makes the listener believe it is an album 'proper'. Through a song-order that seems natural, through a cohesive sound through the time period said compilation covers. You can easily suspend your initial doubts if you are a compilation snob, eg, the type that's indie-pure and listens exclusively to albums. 'Singles Going Steady' is chronological, yet covers a short enough time-span for the song order to convince you, and to make logical sense. The initial burst of classic punk pop songs give way to songs using different sounds and constructions, such as 'Something's Gone Wrong Again'. Even these songs share the same Buzzcock trademarks of instantly indentifiable melody though. These songs share the sense that they are songs that were never meant to be constructed, played or recorded any other way than they have been. Nearly all of the songs here are classics of their kind, so i'll just mention a couple of personal favourites. I adore 'Noise Annoys', a quite sweet guitar pop song with lyrics that fit the punk ethos, playfully. Music that has those buzzsaw guitars, yet cleanly and packed full with simple melodic invention. 'Promises' and 'I Don't Mind' are both as good as 'Ever Fallen In Love?'. 'Orgasm Addict' gets continued radio-play right through to this day. The Buzzcocks made several decent to excellent albums, even after their initial early eighties break-up. I would say however, that 'Singles Going Steady' remains the very best way to experience their simple grandeur in a single burst.

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    Readers Comments

    Carlos Carlos1970@hotmail.co.uk
    I totally agree 9.5 .The Buzzcocks where probably one of the best "singles" bands ever to have existed.Every song on this album is bursting with energy.All the songs are well crafted,whilst not exactly angst ridden as some of their punk friends,they all get their point across perfectly and deal with issues everybody can relate to.The Buzzcocks music sounds as fresh and relevant today as it did in the late 70`s and this is evident in the singles they released.Perhaps the choice of subject for their songs being relationships rather than social change or comic book anarchy some of their punk counterparts sang of has enabled their music to age even better. By the way I loved the Frank Zappa and Robbie Williams reviews too,obviously for different reasons.


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    Another Music In A Different Kitchen 8 ( 1978 )
    Fast Cars / No Reply / You Tear Me Up / Get on Your Own / Love Battery / Sixteen / I Don't Mind / Fiction Romance / Autonomy / I Need / Moving Away from the Pulsebeat

    The Buzzcocks were one of just many Manchester punk bands and were initially led by Howard Devoto. He left to form Magazine and the critics doubted they could produce a debut album of worth without him. What did they produce then? They produced an album that lasts thirty five minutes and seven minutes of those consist of 'Moving Away From The Pulsebeat'. 'Moving Away From The Pulsebeat' is a groove though. It's not a groove that goes anywhere in particular unfortunately, but it's a groove anyway. It's a blight on an otherwise fine album. 'Fast Cars' is immediately iconic, the guitars create distinctive riffs. It lasts a perfect pop two and a half minutes. I hate fast cars too. A couple or three of the best songs on the album are grouped together in the middle. The short stop start riffs of 'Sixteen', the glorious and perfect pop of 'I Don't Mind' which is also probably the best song on the album. 'Autonomy', another perfect gem that's beautifully constructed out of memorable guitar riffs. The album flies past, to be honest, but it still registers. There's not a lot I can say about the album to be honest. The songs don't try to be anything ambitious, something Howard Devoto brought to the band and to Magazine. Buzzcocks lost their avant-garde edge then, but gained a concise pop punk flair for writing wonderful little songs. 'Fiction Romance' again opens with a distinctive riff, as so many of the songs here do.

    Shall I talk about 'Moving Away From The Pulsebeat'? Best not do. It will only spoil things. Let's just put on 'I Don't Mind' again. 'I don't my my my i i i ind'. There's a lot of warm feelings for The Buzzcocks, especially from those around at the time of original release. It's an album I can easily imagine people listening to time and again. It's a simple little record. A song like 'Get On Your Own' rises out melodic yet fairly quiet buzzsaw guitars and Pete Shelly singing with one of the most distinctive vocals in all punk. As distinctive as Johnny Rotten? Yeah, certainly. Only 8/10? Yeah, I prefer the next one. Watch that space.

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    Love Bites 8 ( 1980 )
    Real World / Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) / Operator's Manual / Nostalgia / Walking Distance / ESP / Just Lust / Love Is Lies / Nothing Left / Sixteen Again / Late for the Train

    People tend to say, first EP nobody could buy, stellar! First album, top-notch!! Second album, ah, has it's moments. I say to those people phooey! Not Hong Kong Phooey, the Hanana Barbera cartoon, mind you. I mean, just listen to 'The Real World.' The bass is full, the guitars are short and sharp and serve a purpose and the vocals soar during the chorus 'In the real world' - it connects with an audience. Well, it connects with me. I suppose i'm an audience. What follows this fine opener? Only one of the best songs ever written, the uncoverable 'Ever Fallen In Love'. Uncoverable because The Buzzcocks do such a great job of it first time out, Shelley's lost vocals absolutely not convincing anybody that he ever fell in love, but still - full of such charm! We all also know that deep, rumbling bass part the song has. Prog bands had ten minute bass solo's, punk bands have two note, 30 second bass rumbling parts. Repeat the chorus for the eighth time, close. As I said, one of the best songs ever written. I normally hate repetition in music but The Buzzcocks could get away with it and The Fall made a career out of it. We've also got 'Just Lust' and 'Sixteen Again', recognised classic Shelley songs but then we get a Steve Diggle tune, the much appreciated in our house 'Love Is Lies'. It's simple, it's universal, it's underconfident yet that Buzzcocks charm once again shines through. A harder hitting, slightly louder, ever so slightly slower yet more menacing guitar sound is present by the way throughout much of 'Love Bites'. It means that 'Love Bites' can have one of those places in 'The Library' reserved for albums that, you can't say are perfect or even very good by objective standards, yet you love anyway. Yes, we've of a few of those in the library.

    Chung, chung, chung goes the closer 'Late For The Train', ah Buzzcocks, always one for those important political statements, that's why we love em. So 'Love Bites', a simple album for simple times packed full of guitars that could have become borderline heavy metal a few years down the line had the band not had the sense to not really try to go anywhere else after this. Well, they did release a third album during their initial run but that's another story and shall be told another time. That album resides within a dusty corner of 'the library' and is rarely taken out. I think back to this LP though and especially the first two songs, 'The Real World' for my money being one of the best album openers ever.

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    this page last updated 29/04/11



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