MUSIC REVIEWS: The Buzzcock’s, reissues of Another Music In A Different Kitchen, Love Bites and A Different Tension

Punk/pop pioneers The Buzzcocks released an amazing glut of material between the years 1978 and 1979. Singles, B-sides, album cuts. Now it’s all here on the re-release of their first three albums: Another Music In A Different Kitchen, Love Bites and A Different Tension. One hundred twenty three tracks in all, demos, live stuff-concerts and radio sessions-album cuts, singles and thirty three never-before heard ‘alternative’ versions-plus new art work-each 2CD set presents the line-up of Pete Shelley, vocals and guitar (keys on the later albums), Steve Diggle-guitar and vocals, Steve Garvey bass and John Maher drums and vocals, playing all you’re ever gonna need when it comes to this truly seminal punk/pop quartet.

Another Music In A Different Kitchen
(Mute Records)

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Another Music In A Different Kitchen, the band’s first album, is pop punk through and through. Opening with “Fast Cars,” “No Reply,” and “You Tear Me Up” (this last featuring some truly great drumming from Maher) we hear the Sex Pistol’s influence in these semi-hyped little ditties, with a strong sense of pop under most of it. “Sixteen” is a good bop, and tunes like “Fiction Romance” and “Autonomy” harken back to The Kinks more than the Pistols. “Moving Away From The Pulse Beat” has a nice simple orchestration (dare I say it) that hints at some of the maturity to come with this band.

There’s the singles too, the fantastically sardonic “Orgasm Addict” (lyrics like this are what can be so great about the punk sensibility) “Whatever Happened To…?” “What Do I Get,” the pumping “Oh Shit,” then three songs from John Peel’s radio show (every CD-set here has tunes from the famous Peel radio show).

CD2 of Kitchen features 14 demos (5 unreleased until now) and Live from the Electric Circus, a concert the band played in their Manchester home town back in 1978. These live recordings alone are worth the price of these reissues. Of the live stuff, “Boredom” wails with a frightening one note cry of Diggle, Maher pushing snare snaps of “You Tear Me Up” and the rallying cry of “Love Battery.” This had to be a small tight show.

Love Bites
(Mute Records)

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Love Bites was the UK quartet’s 2nd LP. Again we get two discs, with the original album featuring five ‘associated singles’ “Love You More,” “Noise,” “Annoys,” “Promises,” and “Lipstick.” There’s more John Peel sessions, from separate 1978 dates featuring “Noise Annoys,” “Walking Distance,” “Late for the Train,” “Promises,” “Lipstick,” a rousing “Sixteen Again,” and E.S.P. Again CD2 starts off with a glut of demos and again there is another live show, from Manchester (at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in July 1978). On this CD alone there are 18 never before heard versions of songs, like “Operators Manual,” “Ever Fallen In Love,” “Raison D’Etre” (we’ll hear this one again), and “Mother of Turds.” But really, the treat here is a mini-concert from the Lesser Free Trade Hall, with 10 never before heard live tracks from this 1978 show. I love the intimacy of what had to have been a sweaty dark tight show in the band’s home town. Hard loud tunes like “I Don’t Mind” and the brilliant “Fiction Romance” are extra special.

A Different Tension
(Mute Records)

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A Different Tension, the band’s third album, opens with the furious and poppy “Paradise” into the tight slight funk of “Sitting ‘Round at Home,” some more poppiness of “You Say You Don’t Love Me” (Buzz’s sounding almost Monkee-esque here), then the tight pure punk of “Rason D’Etre” (there it is again!) and Steve Garvey’s bass grooving on “Money.” On this first CD we also get the singles, “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” and “Why Can’t I Touch It.” “Touch” is a longer song than usual from these 2-min masters but with its great groove and absolutely perfect vocal performance from Pete Shelley, it’s my fave track on all of Tension, a true mature track from this band that now had 3 albums under their belts. “Harmony in My Head” and the seemingly very produced (at least for what has appeared before it) “Something’s Gone Wrong Again”-end the first CD.

CD 2 starts with singles associated with this album. There’s the trash beat of “Are Everything,” chanty chorus pop of “Why She’s a Girl From the Chainstore,” what sounds like a Television-inspired “Airwaves Dream” and a poignant ” Running Free.” Demos for “Harmony in My Head” and the backing for “Something’s Gone Wrong Again,” plus 2 different John Peel BBC radio shows-featuring songs like “I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life” and “Hollow Inside” round out the set.

Ralph Greco, Jr.

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