BUZZCOCKS: The Way: CD

I’ve adored this band from the first time I heard their Singles Going Steady album some thirty-odd years ago, so bearing that in mind, to my total geek-fan mind there are three Buzzcocks eras: 1) their “classic” period which begins with Spiral Scratch and ends with Trade Test Transmissions; 2) Modern, easily their nadir; and 3) their “second wind” period of their most recent three albums, including the one currently under discussion. The songs here are solid meat ‘n’ potatoes work for these cats—nothing will send the listener’s jaw bouncing off the floor in wide-eyed wonder the way “What Do I Get” or “I Believe” once did, but they’re handily working at levels well above the average gaggle of punters. Shelley and Diggle split songwriting evenly down the middle this time ‘round, with five apiece, and both allow themselves to experiment a bit within the parameters of the band’s sonic palette. Shelley’s vocals may be a bit gruffer than usual, no doubt the wear of years of hollering and emoting, but his delivery remains as strong as ever. 

 –jimmy (Buzzcocks)