Buzzcocks Another Music In A Different Kitchen / Love Bites / A Different Kind Of Tension

Buzzcocks Another Music In A Different Kitchen / Love Bites / A Different Kind Of Tension
Incredibly comprehensive, enough so to test the limits of even the most devout fan, Mute Records' re-releases of British punk progenitors the Buzzcocks' first three albums is an exercise in worshipping genre formation, innovation and outright patience. As a whole, these discs are a glorious endeavour that encompasses the initial brilliance of the band during what was arguably their most prodigious era. But it wears you down. Divided into two discs apiece, each effort naturally kicks off with the official album. It's then expanded upon via respective singles and lesser-acknowledged work from the era (i.e., BBC/John Peel sessions, live shows and working material). In that area, previously unreleased demo versions and backing tracks are a bit much; it's the same "we have to address everything" syndrome the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds has fallen victim to. Some bits (generally the Peel sessions) are cool, yet who really needs a bout of half-finished tracks or so-so-sounding live stuff? Still, they're worth a spin or two at worst and provide context. Wisely though, Mute has opted to ensure that the lion's share of bonus material is reserved for second discs so as not to bungle up the greatness of the original releases, nor subject us to more of the same with diminishing returns. As for the albums themselves, while virtually all three are still little more than continuations on a theme (they sound decidedly similar overall) the way in which the Buzzcocks provided an equally abrasive yet far more intelligent version of punk rock (infusing a bit of British class the Clash ignored and the Sex Pistols detested) throughout these releases is one of their most endearing traits. Pointed and wily, yet catchy and brimming with attitude, one can sense the youthful vigour pouring out of debut Another Music In A Different Kitchen. Follow-up Love Bites features a bit more refined intent that wasn't completely perfected until A Different Kind Of Tension, arguably their most complete release, in terms of craft and delivery. From "Fast Cars" through "Orgasm Addict" and "What Do I Get," it's their most memorable work and clearly a prime influence on the subsequent new wave, as well as punk. While none of these massive reissues is surprising, they're all overwhelming for their content and enthralling for nostalgic purposes. As introductory affairs, they may prove a bit much, but if the lessons stick, which they should easily do, even newbies will realize that the passable bonus material adds incredible value to these exhaustive explorations of one band's contribution to punk's unwavering foundation. (Mute)