The Final Farewell
In late January of 2019, The Buzzcocks re-released their first two albums, Another Music in a Different Kitchen and Love Bites, remastered on vinyl for their 40th anniversary. Both albums were originally released in 1978, but have ultimately stood the test of time. This re-release was meant to celebrate a rich history of success. The band’s gritty punk attitude and strong melodic sensibilities made a for a fruitful career. Their career spanned over five decades, even with an eight-year disbandment from 1981-1989. Even so, it is clear that the band’s early work stands as some of the band’s finest. With 2018’s passing of the group’s lead singer and principal songwriter Pete Shelley, this re-release is a clear celebration of the band’s roots. A clear throwback to the beginning of a beautiful ride. A final farewell.
Even though there has been no official announcement of the band breaking up at this point, it is safe to say that the band’s future is uncertain. Pete Shelley was absolutely considered an instrumental figure to the group. Going on without him may be considered borderline disrespectful. With this in mind, it is only appropriate for the rest of the band to commemorate the band’s storied beginning.
The albums’ re-release has a vintage, yet modern look to it. With the rise of vinyl sales becoming more popular, the re-issues have a strong chance of appealing to both older classic fans as well as new fans from younger generations seeking to have a piece of punk rock history. The albums also contain additional photos and artist’s notes that were not previously released. This only furthers the allure of this release. The two albums also include an enticing group of songs. Another Music in a Different Kitchen includes their hit single “I Don’t Mind,” which reached number 55 on the UK Singles Chart. “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve),” which reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart, is featured on Love Bites.
“I Don’t Mind” has a light uplifting melody with tasteful backing vocals. The drums keep a fast beat that the bass and guitars follow along closely. Although the track is barely over two minutes long, it is catchy enough to want to play it on repeat. There is a bridge part of the song where they introduce a higher treble guitar lead line. Although simple, basic and a bit sloppy, it adds a layer that lightens up the song. The main melody of the song comes from the vocals, however. It is interesting to hear how the lead guitar line coincides with the vocal line to create a wonderfully short and sweet track.
“Fiction Romance” starts off with a steady kick drum as the guitars build up the intro. The drums fill as a signal for the bass to come in. The band chugs along. It briefly opens up with a lot of melody and high-end guitar before returning back to the low chugging. The contrast between short staccato and elongated legato gives the song more depth.
“Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” starts abruptly with a fast upbeat pace. The bouncy vocal rhythm blends in well with the drums and bass. The bridge brings a sense of introspection to the listener. The guitars build it up back to the chorus in a very tastefully climactic way to end the track.
Although Another Music in a Different Kitchen is their breakthrough album, there are significant improvements on Love Bites that make it stand out. Tracks like “Nostalgia” and “Walking Distance” have improved dynamics and comprehensive guitar solos. The bass line in “Walking Distance” is phenomenal. The drumming pattern in “Real World” and “Nothing Left” are very consistent and driving.
Overall, this re-release only proves the vitality of Buzzcocks’ music. Pete Shelley and company gave us a lot of great songs throughout the years. While it is truly sad that it is over, we can only be happy that it happened.