Tuesday, 11 December 2018

The Buzzcocks - Love Bites (1978)


  

Released September 1978

Although they produced decidedly punky, breakneck singles, The Buzzcocks' albums were quite "post punk" in many ways. Certainly 1978's debut, "Another Music In A Different Kitchen" influenced many an introspective post punker. The Buzzcocks had a joie de vivre amidst their wry, observational three minute anthems though. Their music was both joyous and downcast at the same time.

TRACK LISTING

1. Real World
2. Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't Have?)
3. Operators Manual
4. Nostalgia
5. Just Lust
6. Sixteen Again
7. Walking Distance
8. Love Is Lies
9. Nothing Left
10. E.S.P.
11. Late For The Train

"Real World" kicks things off with a typical post punk drum beat and edgy guitar riff and some earnest lyrics, while everyone knows "Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't Have?)" and it was a true punk anthem without the anger. The late Pete Shelley's high-pitched slightly lisping voice was not really picked up on at the time, neither was his bi-sexuality. It was simply considered a great punk record, ideal for fist-pumping and pogoing, which it is. "Operators Manual" is a half punk, half industrial clunker of a track, full of stark riffs and dense, rolling drums, backed by a wailing, toneless vocal. "Nostalgia" is pretty standard punk fare, fast riffs and bleating vocals that sounded angry even if they weren't. Despite the audible energy of the group's material, there was always a gloominess to them. "Just Lust" had a frantic punk beat and now typical Buzzcocks refreshing honest lyrics about youthful sex and the lust of the title. It builds on the tradition created by "Orgasm Addict" in the previous year.

"Sixteen Again" has a Magazine-style riff and more trademark Shelley lyrics, getting nostalgic for just a few years previously. "Walking Distance" is an infectious new wave instrumental, full of excellent guitar, bass and drums. "Love Is Lies" is another cynical Buzzcocks love song. This is what The Buzzcocks were all about - they didn't sing about social issues, corrupt Tory MPs or violence. They sang, on the whole, about love and its attendant problems. Personally, I had other punk groups I preferred more - The Clash, The Jam, The Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers, but I understood where The Buzzcocks were coming from, I think.

"Nothing Left" is one of their most obvious punk meets post punk numbers, with one of those edgy, drawn-out intros and that sonorous, thumping, insistent drum backbeat. It inspired many a post punk band. It even has a slightly dubby bit in it. "E.S.P." has a killer, searing riff to it. It has a long, minute-long fade out, though, for some reason. "Late For The Train" is another nascent post-punker, clocking in at five and a half minutes (not common among punk groups). It has another long, sonorous, guitar-driven intro and you wonder when the vocals are going to come in. They never do. An album with two instrumentals on showed that The Buzzcocks were stretching the two/three minute angry punk song thing considerably, pushing the boundaries already, leaving their singles as singles and their albums as more serious creations.

B-

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