Buzzcocks Buzzcocks

As if a response to every other half-assed post-retirement release issued by rockers well past their expiry date, this splendid new disc from the Buzzcocks ranks among the best of the Manchester pop-punk pioneers' early catalogue. Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle don't let up at all, here, running - not jogging - through these dozen titles, each of them typically catchy and aggressively melodic. Producer Tony Barber (who also represents half of the band's rhythm section, alongside drummer Phil Barker) has managed to capture some of the sonic spirit of the group's late '70s output, too. Sure, Trade Test Transmissions, All Set and Modern were fine after-the-fact albums, but they didn't so much as hint at this splendid return to form. Small wonder the band opted to make it an eponymous effort. Fans in Montreal and Toronto will be happy to know the band has live dates on the books in mid-June, albeit as the opening act for (egad) Pearl Jam. (Merge)