Buzzcocks’ simplicity was their genius that became their straitjacket. By their third album, 1979’s A Different Kind Of Tension, Pete Shelley was chafing against the restrictions of the punk-pop formula so easily mimicked by Jilted John.

Buzzcocks

Fearful of becoming Ramones-style one-trick ponies, Shelley cast around, quoting William Burroughs on the title track, and letting Steve Diggle write songs. It didn’t work because, as this vinyl/CD reissue shows, the material was lacking.

After this album, he split Buzzcocks to go solo and embrace electronica. It must have been a relief.

A Different Kind Of Tension’s failings are thrown into stark relief by Domino’s reissues, also on vinyl and CD, of the Singles Going Steady compilation, originally released in 1979 in the US and 1981 here.

Here are Buzzcocks’ blessed, gawky bursts of teenage angst in all their ragged glory, a scarcely credible run of punk-pop classics from the priapic panic of Orgasm Addict through the knotted yearning of What Do I Get? to the peerless Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).

Frankly, if you’re only going to buy one Buzzcocks reissue this month, it’s no contest… 

6/10 & 8/10

Ian Gittins

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