The loss of their principal songwriter would have seen less committed bands throw in the towel. However, such is the indomitable rock’n’roll spirit of co-founder and fellow tunesmith Steve Diggle, that when Pete Shelley passed away in 2018 the Buzzocks’ future was never really in doubt.
If anything, adversity has brought out the best in them. Recorded in London during lockdown and produced by Diggle and the splendidly named Laurence Loveless, their new album Sonics In The Soul is a riot from start to finish.
Opener Senses Out Of Control sets the tone, all pent-up aggression and cheesewire-sharp guitars, while Just Gotta Let It Go is a menacing new-wave chug. But there’s a melodic clout beneath the bluster. Nothingness World is a Hollies-esque nugget, while the Who-like Manchester Rain is similarly civic-minded, Diggle musing on midlife concerns while caught in the inevitable local downpour.
Factor in breezy power-pop (Venus Eye), Hawkwind-esque space-rock (Experimental Farm) and punky paranoia (Bad Dreams), and the overall result is the sound of a band rebooted and reinvigorated.