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Buzzcocks - Flat-Pack Philosophy (Cover Artwork)

Buzzcocks

Buzzcocks: Flat-Pack PhilosophyFlat-Pack Philosophy (2006)
Buzzcocks

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
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Contributed by: adamAdam
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Buzzcocks are in the midst of an unprecedented revival. I rack my brain to figure out a single band that's pulled off an exceedingly late career turn-around like this, and I can't honestly think of one. While the band's reunion physically took place some fifteen or so years ago, it seems to only hav.
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Buzzcocks are in the midst of an unprecedented revival. I rack my brain to figure out a single band that's pulled off an exceedingly late career turn-around like this, and I can't honestly think of one. While the band's reunion physically took place some fifteen or so years ago, it seems to only have come together spiritually with 2003's Buzzcocks. Self-titling a record some 27 years into a career of a long-established band is a pretty presumptuous move in itself. Of course, Shelley and Diggle intended to signify a rebirth of sorts, but there's a well-established precedent working against them. It's pretty much a rule that old bands are labelled as such precisely because their best years are behind them. If anything, they should be quietly touring and selling t-shirts to their old band fans.

Yet, Buzzcocks was really rather good.

Excellent, in fact. That record has more of a punk fire in its belly, more drive and purpose than the majority of what was released that year. The "new school" was putting forth a pretty decent effort (Revolutions Per Minute, ...Burn, Piano Island, Burn, Guitar Romantic, Eternal Cowboy) and the veterans league was keeping pace.

Buzzcocks was also a bit of deck clearing. After years of quasi-successful songwriting experiments, it was perhaps more of a straight-forward punk rock record than the band's early material. Flat-Pack Philosophy starts from this plateau, but finds the band writing quirky pop songs again. The songwriting is branching slightly, utilizing some different rhythmic ideas in particular, but it's all quite safely (and smartly) framed in that sound that worked so well in 2003.

The title track establishes this quite well, driving the record's underlying criticism of consumer culture home in as blunt and musically forceful a way as possible. It's on the album's second song where the Pete Shelley we adored for reinventing the love song as a warped little punk tune emerges. "Wish I Never Loved You" is perfect. Much like `03's "Friends," it utilizes an unreal melody that Shelley climbs higher and higher into the chorus. By the time he reaches the "tell me why" refrain, it's quite clear that nobody, despite all the bands he's influenced, can write like this. The bratty lovelorn voice the band made famous on their early singles makes further appearances here on songs like "I've Had Enough" and "I Don't Exist."

Steve Diggle's contributions are a tad more workmanlike, never quite attempting the lyrical and melodic gymnastics of his counterpart but providing the flesh on Shelley's jangling skeleton. The dynamic is essential though, as Diggle's succinct, by-the-books punk songs, from the lean "Soul Survivor" to the midtempo "Big Brother Wheels," anchor Shelley from ever wandering too far from what makes the band work. "Wheels" in particular takes some wonderful melodic ideas and builds them to a snarling refrain (of "jackboots stamp all over the place" -- proving that when punk bands aren't exhaustingly political, little defiant turns of phrase can be remarkably effective).

Perhaps it's because Flat-Pack so successfully balances Shelley's penchant for weird little pop songs and Diggle's understanding of nonsense-free punk rock that the album's darker, lyrically tougher material is less engaging. "Sound of a Gun" and "Between Heaven and Hell" may have worked better on the eponymous record, but it's hard to take the band seriously singing "everybody shakes to the sound of a gun." It's simply not in character. However, with few songs breaking the three-minute mark the few stumbles thankfully don't drag on the record at all.

Flat-Pack Philosophy is another remarkably strong record from a band that all logic says should have fizzled out long ago. I'm at a loss to explain this bewildering yet wonderful revival, but we're lucky it's produced a second high quality record. Where this goes now and how long it keeps up is anyone's guess, as Buzzcocks are clearly at a career stage few bands ever reach, let alone succeed in.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
notfeelingcreative (June 11, 2006)

As for my post below, I don't know what I said either!

notfeelingcreative (June 11, 2006)

Great stuff! It's always great when I band that helped pioneer a certain sound can still do it better than many of the impostors!!

Anonymous (April 8, 2006)

I bought this album the 2nd day it came out and was not dissapointed, it is truly a masterpiece and although they are getting a little older, I'm sure we will see 2 or 3 more albums from em...

letmego (March 29, 2006)

Nice review, great album.

Anonymous (March 28, 2006)

Buzzcocks=overrated

Mr_Streetcore (March 27, 2006)

i have yet to purchase this albumn but i borought the single a few weeks back and from what i think of it i'm guessing the albumn will fail to dissapoint me

Pope_Skeletor (March 26, 2006)

Elephants can be fucking crazy. I heard a story on the radio one day about elephants destroying a village in India because they remembered humans destroying their habitats.

readmag (March 26, 2006)

I hope to sound this good when I'm 70 years old.

weisenflap (March 26, 2006)

good album!

Anonymous (March 26, 2006)

There's a show on right now on National Geographic about evil elephants and it's called "Elephants: The Dark Side."

-Will

jamespastepunk (March 25, 2006)

Shit, if the music is good what does it matter if it's from an old or new band?

Truth.

Anonymous (March 25, 2006)

exploding hearts>every other band

TheNightProwler (March 24, 2006)

You know, I'm sick of people who only listen to old shit and I'm sick of people who only listen to new shit.

Shit, if the music is good what does it matter if it's from an old or new band?

People these days...

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

Shut up. Miranda just knocked out Eastman for Christ's sake.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

"Give me a fucking break. It's just a goddamn record, and I don't ever aspire to become a music historian. Elitist.

-Chinatown"

Elitist? How? All you did was prove my point. You aren't a serious enough music listener to not let shallow shit like "annoying hipsters" get in the way of you listening to music and take it for what it is.

People like old punk because it's the genuine product, soundwise. I like some new punk, but a lot of it seems like a mainlined, boring, formulaic version of what old bands did first.

And liking bands just to financially support them? You sir, are a moron.

-Will

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

I believe that was my point. But, unlike the person below me, I didn't need to make any spelling mistakes to put it forward.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

Uh, boys, isn't the point that good music is good, regardless of the era? So, let's not assume anything is necessarily good or bad depending on the decade, eh?

Uh, I mean, YOUR ALL GAYE and such.

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

Chalk it up to people with no depth or sense of history.

Give me a fucking break. It's just a goddamn record, and I don't ever aspire to become a music historian. Elitist.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

It might just be a personal reaction against the many people who say that there's no more good new music being produced. (I think of them as the "faux-hipsters"; you know, the kind who listen exclusively to The Who, Rush, and Pink Floyd).

Also, I just feel better supporting bands that I know are still alive. By giving them my money, I'm encouraging them and the label to keep on doing what they do. Old-school themed punk has never been my favorite kind of punk to begin with, though I like/support a few bands such as the Briefs and the Ends.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

Chalk it up to people with no depth or sense of history.

-Will

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

"I'll just stick with the Briefs/Dirtnap Records ensemble. I'm not going to pretend that I like any old-school punk, with the exception of perhaps first 8 or so songs on the Minor Threat Discography album."

I'll never understand the people who refuse to listen to or even acknowledge anything from the 70s/80s. It's like that era and those band don't exist. I'm quite curious, why is that? Is it the shitty production? Is the stuff too "simple"? Clue us in on that.

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

I'll just stick with the Briefs/Dirtnap Records ensemble. I'm not going to pretend that I like any old-school punk, with the exception of perhaps first 8 or so songs on the Minor Threat Discography album.

-Chinatown

Zackass (March 24, 2006)

Go listen to my acoustic shit.

www.myspace.com/acousticzack

ElVaquero (March 24, 2006)

no they don't have classic reviews.

i've listened to this twice and just CAN'T get into it. surprising since i thought 2003 was their best album overall.

FuckYouOiOiOi (March 24, 2006)

do they even have classic reviews anymore?

the_other_scott (March 24, 2006)

great another ripoff of the strokes and the hives

Cos (March 24, 2006)

i meant to put 5 stars. Damn preview mode

Cos (March 24, 2006)

Wasn't 2003 when Joe Jackson put out his punk reuninon album? They should've toured with the Buzzcocks. That would've been the shit.

The score is for "Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't Have Fallen In Love With)?"

--Cos

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

To the guy below me: Not sure what you're talking about, but this is a new studio album by Buzzcocks.

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

Sorry cuz I am a fucking stupid, this is an another compilation or a new LP?

If somebody answer this question... A lot of thanks

TheOneTrueBill (March 24, 2006)

Jesus, I need to look over what I type before I hit the post button. That's a pretty sign it's time for bed.

OzmanX (March 24, 2006)

I had no idea this was already out

TheOneTrueBill (March 24, 2006)

I gotta say, I've listened to this four or five times since I got it and it's so good. I can't pick out any favorite songs yet but it just blurs by and makes you want to listen to it again.

I too and just absolutly stunned by how good these last two albums have been. I have one other post-reunion album, "All Set," and though it's not bad it just doesn't hit me the same way.

Does anyone else have the DVD they just released? If you don't you should go and get it right now. It's pretty much perfect in every single way possible. 31 songs, 90 minutes... awe inspiring.

danperrone (March 24, 2006)

adam, i'd say you are my favorite reviewer on this site

always a good read when you throw one up

joeg (March 24, 2006)

i'm picking this up tomorrow. can't wait for their tour since i missed them last time.

kindofalongwaydown (March 24, 2006)

I just finished reading "lifes little annoyances". Great book, but some people just go through way too much trouble for so little.

adam (March 24, 2006)

I blame Brian's editing.

-adam

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

"there's a well established president working against them"

yes, Bush works against everybody!
This albums is GREAT.. powerful, great sound, great melodies.. God, what have i done? is my favorite song on this.

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