Thursday, March 16, 2006

Record Review: Buzzcocks - Flat-Pack Philosophy

The Buzzcocks will forever live in the shadow of their salad days. Their fans will always compare their work to the power pop/pop punk perfection they achieved on Singles Going Steady. And why shouldn’t they? They defined a genre and influenced innumerable bands. But Flat Pack Philosophy boasts enough hooks to stand on its own.

The Buzzcocks excel above other punk rock fixtures vying to remain relevant amongst a genre that has long since moved on. Predominantly because the Buzzcocks too have moved on. Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle are no longer grappling with their adolescent chemical imbalances and bubbling hormones. Rather their lyrical palette is coloured by the quickly modernising Britain they live in. ‘Credit’ opens with a sample that is supposed to parody the absurdity of modern self-serve check outs.

The mix on Flat Pack Philosophy is vast and foreboding. It’s sonically similar to their 2003 self-titled record. The vocals are shrill and sharp. On tracks like ‘Flat Pack Philosophy’ and ‘Wish I Never Loved You’, Shelley croons and slurs the melody menacingly like you wouldn’t expect if you were nurtured on a diet of the ‘cocks’ punk rock standards. The guitars reverberate and punch with a mongrel not seen on their output circa ‘77. On ‘God What Have I Done’ and ‘Sound of a Gun’ the guitars resonate and punch in a tone and melody that is vaguely no wave-ish fashion.

While the Buzzcocks have moved on the realm of bubblegum and forlorn youth, they retain the wit that made them great and direct it elsewhere. While Flat Pack Philosophy doesn’t boast hits like ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ or ‘Orgasm’ addict, it is accessible for those willing to give it a listen or three

Four thumbs up.


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