It’s business as usual for the Buzzcocks. You know exactly what you’re getting, but whereas this might well fill you with horror if this was, say, George Michael, the fact that we’re talking about the Buzzcocks is bound to send a shiver of anticipation down your spine.
You can’t argue that Manchester’s finest punk godfathers were essential listening at the height of punk, giving the soft southern chancers like the Clash and the Pistols a fine run for their money. But is it good enough to be doing much of the same thing that you were doing over 25 years ago? Doesn’t that make you like some end of Blackpool end-of- pier act, barely one notch up from Bernie Clifton and his deeply unfunny ostrich act? The moment the ferocious drum kicks in right to the final pained fade out of Shelly’s yelp, this has Buzzcocks stamped through it like a stick of sticky seaside rock. It’s everything you’d hope for, even if it could’ve been released in 1979. But then, what sadist wants the Buzzcocks to go garage, just to get ‘with that kids’, for god’s sake? It’d be as wrong as Jack Nicholson starring in ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’
Time warp aside, the fact is ‘Buzzcocks’ is excellent stuff. Apart from the odd time when their chugging riffs veer dangerously near Status Quo territory (‘Friends’), that is. But on the whole, the tales of suffering, awkwardness set to an impossibly jittery, anxious guitar are as cutting as ever. You’ll love the itchy jarring descending chords of ‘Drive You Insane’ and the classic Shellyisms on ‘Jerk’ (“I never meant to argue/I’m a jerk you’re right to tell me so”).
The Buzzcocks are still the soundtrack to your messed up life. And probably always will be. 8.2/10