Nine albums, 38 years and a variety of line-ups all led by Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle make Buzzcocks arguably the most resilient (and still creatively active) of all the punk-era bands. The Way, recorded and paid for in the modern internet funding style, sees the band continue recognisably as themselves, while coming up with probably the most muscular collection of their career.
From Shelley’s razory Keep On Believing to Diggle’s feisty People Are Strange Machines, every song is full of slab-sized riffs, punch-in-the-nose melodies and exceptional thunder throughout. Everything is taken at a breakneck pace, and if at times you wonder what happened to the musical playfulness of the band’s chart years, you can only stand back during the tidal wave of an album that really has no right to be this hefty.
Brilliantly, there’s little or no hearkening back to past glories, and songs like Virtually Real and Chasing Rainbows/Modern Times sound like Buzzcocks now rather than Buzzcocks then. By making new albums like this, the band sidestep the entire revival punk circuit ethos and create something new, again.