If the first blush of the Spiral Scratch EP and various singles didn’t make it clear, the opening track on their debut full length, Another Music in a Different Kitchen solidified that there was something different about the Buzzcocks. The song is “Fast Cars” but unlike countless rockers before them, they were on the other side of things, they hated the speed, even name-checking Ralph Nader, pleading for slowing down. Playing it safe in 1978? That’s punk rock.
From then on the Buzzcocks took punk and injected it with poppy riffs, consistently interesting lyrics and motoring low end to create their underappreciated career path as Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle led the way from this record onward. The laser warbling guitars of “Fast Cars” slams into the dial tone pulsing “No Reply” as Shelley starts a string of unique relationship songs over cutting riffs before the drums of John Maher get amplified for the dark and stormy “You Tear Me Up”.
The love/lust/forlorn feelings keep coming in bursts as “Get on Our Own” shows Shelley’s vocal style with backing ooh and ahh’s also helping out before a meaty solo while “Love Battery” is more stereotypical punk sound and sexual innuendos from the Buzzcocks. The artistic marching and lucid false breakdown ending of “Sixteen” gets to the root of the movement, it contains awkward teenage kissing and a closing plea for all other kinds of modern music to cease (“Disco boogie and pop/They go on and on and on and on and on/How I wish They Would Stop!”).
The single released from the album “I Don’t Mind” is a glorious bit of power pop/punk straight out of Shelley as he brings together all of the pieces that flashed in different songs; ringing guitar, ooh/aah’s, emotional and relationship questions from a gender neutral prospective coalescing in a catchy as all hell tune. The only sluggish track on the record is “Fiction Romance” which runs on over four and half minutes with not much changing or energy.
Diggle gets into the act with his contributions to the songwriting as the grooving “Autonomy” shines and the co-written “I Need” bubbles with power and a super wicked bass run from Steve Garvey as the consumer/gluttonous nature seeps in, but it is album closer “Moving Away From The Pulsebeat” which proves that the Buzzcocks follow their own muse and would not be lumped in with anyone else. The track is over seven minutes of the band experimenting with feedback, marching drums, empty space, high pitched ringing riffs, a pulsing beat and a recall to their first ever released single “Boredom”; artsy, exploratory and unique.
While not as industry shifting as Spiral Scratch or as consistently catchy as Singles Going Steady, the band’s first complete full length is still a towering achievement in the annals of punk. The 40th Anniversary Remastering of Another Music in a Different Kitchen will hopefully get these tunes in the hands of a younger generation and with the unfortunate recent passing of Pete Shelley, the time is ripe for an examination of the band’s classic catalog.