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Fin Costello/Redferns

Buzzcocks’ 1977 Spiral Scratch EP is often regarded as the sonic cornerstone of punk rock, yet they were always so much more than just punk. Where the Sex Pistols and The Clash were predicated on societal anger, they were fragile and tender; if the London punks were avowedly political, Buzzcocks’ scratchy angst was personal.

They were also a wondrous singles band: in their first year of life alone, they effortlessly knocked out Orgasm Addict, What Do I Get? and Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?). Yet this vinyl-only reissue of their first two albums, scheduled before the sad death of Pete Shelley from a suspected heart attack in December, serves as a timely testament to their pop brilliance.

Shelley and his fellow, soon-to-depart co-founder Howard Devoto formed Buzzcocks inspired by the inchoate rage of the Pistols, but March 1978 debut Another Music In A Different Kitchen was equally in thrall to the electronic minimalism of Kraftwerk and Can on tracks like the hypnotically repetitive Moving Away From The Pulsebeat.

Bleak, sardonic humour also reigned: Sixteen found Shelley drawling, “I don’t like French kissing/ ’Cause you swallow my tongue” over a chainsaw riff.

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About Classic Pop

Issue 49 is on sale now! For our first issue of 2019 we put our head in the lion’s mouth to count down the Top 40 most important pop artists of the 80s. Will your favourite come away with the spoils? As ever, this issue is packed with great interviews including a very rare chat with Prefab Sprout’s Paddy McAloon and we catch up with Joe Jackson as he celebrates 40 years in music with a new album and tour. We meet Dido who is returning to the pop fray and we also feature must-read interviews with Tracey Thorn, Tanita Tikaram and Ladytron. Depeche Mode’s troubled masterpiece Songs Of Faith And Devotion is our classic album and we also serve up a buyer’s guide to punk-pop pioneers Squeeze. As well as our essential round-up of what to look forward to in the pop world in 2019, we take one last look back at 2018 with our second Classic Pop Reader Awards. Our packed reviews section features the remarkable comeback by The Specials alongside new albums by Ian Brown, The Beat featuring Ranking Roger, White Lies and UB40 plus a reissues section that includes Prince and David Sylvian on vinyl, a comprehensive Paul Young singles boxset, Buzzcocks, Bananarama and much more. On the live front, we review gigs by Adam Ant, All Saints, Lily Allen and more.