The Buzzcocks

The Buzzcocks

The Buzzcocks

The Way

1-2-3-4 GO! Records

It’s not so much these guys still can make a decent punk record; it’s that they still record at all. The Buzzcocks led the early Manchester punk scene with strong melodies and even stronger lyrics. They were fan faves until the 1981 break up; they reappeared a few years later as a stable and still entertaining act. Their anthem “Orgasm Addict” was banned on the BBC, and if that’s not fame, what is? Today they’ve issued a cool, clear blue vinyl mini EP. Ten songs fill the project and the opener “Keep on Believing” sounds like it was misplaced from an earlier session. It’s a time capsule that re-appears with the energy and balls of the original 1977 sound. More power pop follows, some by Peter Shelly and some by Steve Diggle. There’s a sharp guitar riff on “People are Strange Machines” while barely intelligible vocals sell “The Way”.

Things slow down for the next cuts: “In the Back” recalls early R.E.M. and “Virtually Real” echoes the late sound of the Germs. The B-side of this disk holds all the B material: “Third Dimension” and “Out of the Blue” are workman like yet forgettable, and “Chasing Rainbows/ Modern Times” sounds forced. So half the record shines and half hides under the clouds, but how many times have you bought an album of schlock for just one magic cut? Oh, yeah, iTunes sells music by the drink. We retired punks like to buy it by the case and groove on the groovy look of the giant record jackets and zone out on the equalizer bars bouncing on the face of the old Marantz amp.

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