Review Summary: An excellent debut from a band that is underappreciated and not well-known outside of the UK.
If you were asked to name influential punk bands from the 1970’s, what would you say? The Ramones? Sex Pistols? The Clash? No matter which punk band you name, the Buzzcocks aren’t likely to come up. Although somewhat unknown, the Buzzcocks were one of the most significant and influential punk bands of all-time. They had an impact on not only the punk genre, but on several others. Just to get a taste of how prominent the Buzzocks truly were, Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder hints the Buzzcocks as one of their major influences. “If it weren’t for the Buzzcocks, who knows we might sound like Good Charlotte or something.” Not to say that Pearl Jam and the Buzzcocks are in the least bit similar.
These punk rockers from Manchester, England came upon the music scene late in the 1970’s along with the Ramones, The Clash, and Sex Pistols, releasing the EP “Spiral Scratch” in 1977. A year later, the Buzzcocks completed their first full-length record, “Another Music in a Different Kitchen.” Their sound was somewhat typical of a classic punk band; accelerated pace, simple chord progressions, fiery leads, and high-pitched vocals, all complemented by catchy pop-hooks. The 44-minute debut “Another Music in a Different Kitchen” was compiled of 15 tracks, several of which are among the band’s best work. Although most of the songs are just over two minutes long, Moving Away from the Pulsebeat
clocks in at over five minutes, displaying the band’s ability to expand.
Pete Shelley isn’t your ordinary punk vocalist. His voice is unusually high and quirky, both lacking the edge of Iggy Pop and the raspy style of Johnny Rotten. This doesn’t make Shelley any worse of a vocalist, although at times it is hard to take him seriously. In the album’s opening track, Shelley exclaims, “Sooner or later, you’re gonna listen to Ralph Nader. I don’t wanna cause a fuss, but fast cars are so dangerous!” Shelly’s quirkiness is the major factor in what gives the Buzzcocks their pop frame, but doesn’t entirely define their sound. Guitarist Steve Diggle was also instrumental in the band’s success, and served as a key creative outlet for the band. Diggle’s leads were often quick and simple, but supplied the record with even more quirkiness.
“Another Music in a Different Kitchen” is at times extremely catchy, which is directly displayed in I Don’t Mind
. Shelley is at his best, ranging from a calming tone to his trademark sharp annunciation. The band even provides some backing “oo-oo-oo’s,” which aren’t a far cry from the Ramones’ group singing. The opener Fast Cars
, lives up to its name with the accelerate pace, but doesn’t disappoint to provide some variety in the form of bass interludes. Autonomy
is featured on their “Singles Going Steady” compilation and rightfully so, for it is clearly one of the album’s best. Autonomy
features potentially the best and most complex riff on “Another Music in a Different Kitchen,” and is quite catchy with Shelley singing, “I…I want you. Autonomy.” This somewhat typical punk record however, is thrown for a loop with Moving Away From the Pulsebeat
, which features long instrumental sections courtesy of Steve Diggle. This is by far the record’s most diverse track and is almost groundbreaking in the punk genre. After the song fades out around the five minute mark however, we are stunned with an instrumental reprise of Fast Cars
The Buzzcocks even have a blast with Orgasm Addict
, which is exactly what it sounds like. The track is a bit humorous, especially with Shelley moaning after the chorus. Oh Shit
serves along these lines as well; this one and a half minute closer is fiery and amusing, “Oh shit I wish I’d known by now, oh shit that you were such a f****** cow!” The penultimate song What Do I Get?
is another that is featured on “Singles Going Steady,” and epitomizes the catchiness and accessibility of the record. It is one of the better songs the band has to offer, despite its simplicity.
“Another Music in a Different Kitchen” is an excellent record that should be enjoyed by any fan of punk rock. The Buzzcocks debut is just further evidence that the band is highly underrated and underappreciated; seeing as the impact the band has made.
I Don’t Mind
Moving Away From the Pulsebeat
What Do I Get?