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A complete box set ("Product") appeared in 1989, and in the early 90's the band regrouped for a tour. 1993 saw Shelley and Diggle (with new rhythm section (Phil Barker and Tony Barber) release "Trade Test Transmission", which remarkably picked up right where the band left off in 1980. 1996's "All Set" was also amazingly strong. In an unlikely turn of events, Toyota chose "What Do I Get" for a TV commercial campaign in 2000.
Which leads us to the album at hand, "Modern". I wonder why they chose this title...the last thing I want the Buzzcocks to sound is modern! The album is infused with too many synthesizers and drum machines to sound like classic Buzzcocks, and is spotty through the first six tracks. Then the album abruptly rights itself with "Runaround" and "Doesn't Mean Anything" and doesn't falter again.
If you are new to the band, search out one of the early compilations such as "Operator's Manual". If you were a fan of the early Buzzcocks and have been leery of the 90's version start with "Trade Test Transmission". "Modern" shows the band maturing somewhat, but considering that most of the band's charm was its immaturity, that isn't necessarily a plus.
All that said, this album is far better than you'd have any reason to expect of a 70's punk band that has decided to keep on plugging.
Plus, it rocks! Full marks to bassist and producer Tony Barber for giving the band's sound the clean, tight bottom end and airy mids and highs that 1993's Trade Test Transmissions approached but didn't quite achieve.
Finally, contrary to what seems to be the critical consensus about the Buzzcocks' 1990s output, I feel 1996's All Set was the low point, with some of Shelley's corniest and least imaginative lyrics and a muddy, shallow sound. Modern is a great rebound, and deserves a whole lot more respect (and more sales!) than it has garnered.
How fortunate to have a bass and drum player who have the Buzzcocks
sound down so well, you'd hardly notice that they're the only new members of the reformed band, but as boring as that sounds to long-time fans, it's really the only reason they've been so successful since they regrouped on TTT.
Pete and Steve's song formula is not unlike the power-punk 2 minute diddy
perfected by a fellow era regrouped Undertones, although to my knowledge, the Undertones have only managed 1 new album since they regrouped.
Not everyone appreciates new Buzz, some refuse to listen to anything but the 70 - early 80's material, granted the early material was a bit more raw in lyrical and music edge, but that was probably due to the relative energy of their youth, now they do pretty good for being 50-somethings, there are plenty of bands who can't write comparably good music in their youth without using a computer to arrange all their stuff into bubble-pop
jizzum, shoot once, don't expect much after one play.
I can't help but feel compelled to sing along whenever I'm playing this CD, but that's just me, a geeky old fart.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So far, you`re ALL wrong! Diggle`s songs from Trade Test Transmissions surpassed many of Shelley`s, possibly for the first time. Read morePublished 17 months ago by J. Young
See romanticism pinging your brain like a red hot marble.
Universal message of love's anguish and really LOUD guitars. Read more
This ranks right up there with the Blondie reunion CD as completely unnecessary. Why? These guys are RELICS. And I wouldn't care if the music was great (i.e. Read morePublished on June 10, 2000 by punkviper