Buzzcocks – A Different Compilation (Cooking Vinyl)
Just how hard do you reckon it’d be to put together an incredible Buzzcocks compilation? Their first three albums are matchless.
“The original records now sound like demos,” says Pete Shelley. “These new versions, honed by years on the road, showcase the songs as we know they should be, the way we know audiences love to hear them.”
Oh Bangs. The great thing about Buzzcocks back in the Seventies was how they avoided being a conventional rock band. They created pop music forged in punk, and set it to a Krautrock beat. They were different, brilliant, set apart by their inflammatory love songs and sullen, beautiful, jagged repetition. Now it transpires they simply wanted to be Kaiser Chiefs all along. The Shelley songs on this collection are relatively inoffensive: the former Buzzcocks front-man sticks to the script reasonably faithfully and his voice remains mostly undiminished. Hearing them re-recorded and ‘rocked up’, it merely makes you wonder why. Why the fuck anyone would want to listen to these ‘cover band’ versions when they could equally as easily listen to the originals? The Steve Diggle songs on this collection – which include a brace of more recent ones, plus horrendous reworkings of otherwise beautifully astringent songs (‘Autonomy’, ‘Harmony In My Head’) – are terrible. The current Buzzcocks front-man sings like he really has no fucking idea whatsoever about what made the songs so special once: all posture and bluster, that’s it.
This is depressing. I agree Buzzcocks never got their rightful dues. But this is not the way, surely? Ramones might have turned into a cover band version of themselves, but at least they were never driven to this. It’s like having CJ do all the vocal duties AND write the songs in place of Joey and Dee Dee.
Steve Diggle adds, “What were songs of sophisticated innocence are now songs of experience. ‘Harmony In My Head’ and ‘Why She’s A Girl From The Chainstore’ now have a full panoramic view!”
Bangs wept. I blame Kurt Cobain, the cunt.