Vinyl Vlog 392

Vinyl Vlog 392

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Tuesday, 06 August 2019
COLUMN

Buzzcocks
A Different Kind of Tension
(2019 Remaster)

photo: Turntablelab.com

The Buzzcocks had a major impact on me. At some point in my musical curiosity I started to understand the importance of musical homework: listening to bands to understand a reference more than out of sheer enjoyment. But with the Buzzcocks, it was love at first listen. In my unending need to understand every inch of punk rock history long ago it became painfully obvious that the Buzzcocks would be a band I would have to become intimately acquainted with. Of course Singles Going Steady was the album to start off with, and what a strange album that is, but instead of going back to the albums whose tracks it contained I went straight to A Different Kind of Tension. Mostly because my favorite record store had a copy right there in the used records bin.

I loved Singles Going Steady so much that before I understood it to be a compilation album, I considered it as firm evidence that the Buzzcocks were better than the Clash. Even when comparing it with London Calling I held that to be true. At the time, at least. Later I would know better, but the Buzzcocks were still a band that I wanted to know more about. As I continued to devour A Different Kind of Tension, I realized that it made perfect sense why it was an underrated album. None of its songs were on Singles Going Steady, so it didn’t have that element to anchor the tracks together. Also, the album just might be too experimental for some, with the first half being straight up pop punk and the second half being comprised of what I’m going to call “weirder” tracks. Personally, I just see it as the band’s most expansive and perhaps strongest work. Remember, unlike many other first wave punk bands, the Buzzcocks never stopped releasing albums powering through different rhythm sections if they had to, which makes Pete Shelley’s death even more tragic considering the wonderful music we have all been deprived of. But hearing this album so many years later, all I hear is a band at the top of their game, with perhaps the tightest lineup they’ve ever had. Can anyone deny the sweetness of Paradise, or You Say You Don’t Love Me, or I Believe? Have you ever heard music so urgent yet so hopelessly yearning for love?

This wonderful underrated album has now been rereleased by the folks at Domino and it has been carefully remastered and reconstructed from all the original tapes. Domino dug deep for this reissue, releasing it with original undisturbed artwork, 180g yellow vinyl, and with printed inner sleeves with an essay and all the lyrics. It’s such a beautiful package truly honoring one of the greatest bands ever at a remarkable high point in their career.

Get it from Domino.

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