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Buzzcocks

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Critics' Reviews

amg review
On-stage, the reunited Buzzcocks have been a consistently superb live act since Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle began making the rounds again in 1989, but the second edition of the band hasn't had quite the same degree of success in the studio. While Trade Test Transmission and All Set certainly had their moments, neither was up the standards of the group's 1977-1980 glory days, and 1999's Modern was by any standards a severe disappointment. So it's encouraging to report that Buzzcocks, the band's fourth studio set since their reunion, is the strongest album this band has created since returning to active duty. If Shelley and Diggle have moved past teenage angst into the divisive confusion and frequent bitterness of adult life in their lyrics (as well they should have), their songwriting has also developed a hard-edged clarity and flinty intelligence that suits they new material well; and longtime fans will doubtless prefer the two Pete Shelley/Howard DeVoto collaborations here over the brave but muddled electronic experiments of their Buzzkunst album. Musically, this is tough, propulsive music which rocks with a direct and spirited pulse that lacks a dash of the jangle of their pioneering pop-punk singles but boasts a muscular gravity which suits the songs very well indeed. And the production by bassist Tony Barber serves the material well, giving the band a sleek but thick sound which suits both the hooky melodies and the chunky roar of the guitars. If Buzzcocks doesn't reinvent this band, it does give their approach a bit of an overhaul, and the results make for an album which holds onto their strengths while lending a more mature perspective to their work; hard to imagine Green Day or Rancid having anything this interesting up their sleeve 27 years down the line from their first recording. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
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