Having initially split in 1981 when it felt like their work was definitively done, and Pete Shelley itched to reinvent himself as an electropop artist, Buzzcocks reconvened in 1989 when the wheel of relevancy had turned back in their favour.
They enjoyed a further period of success on the coattails of the sort of bands they had anticipated and inspired – Nirvana, Green Day, even Blur. Sell You Everything is the definitive, copious compendium of that period, in which the partnership between Shelley and Steve Diggle is more equal.
Trade Test Transmissions (1993) saw them reconnect with their own twisted pop/pump energy flow on tracks like the wank homage Palm Of Your Hand, a continuum including The Who, Pistols, Nirvana, while All Set (’96) showed up some of Britpop’s lesser luminaries.
Modern, as the title implies, saw them re-embrace some of their more avant-garde influences – electronica, krautrock, as on Stranger In Your Town – but even then they didn’t stray too far from their essential ethos.
Their self-titled 2003 album was more of a throwback, featuring Lester Sands. They were less prolific as the decade wore on, but not undiminished in power, as the lovelorn title track of 2006’s Flat-Pack Philosophy attested.
Finally there was 2014’s The Way, at which point they’d given up all ambition of being anything other than their true selves. Diggle’s People Are Strange Machines is a standout, a reminder of the more caustic, measured voice he represented in the group alongside his more frenetic partner.