The Buzzcocks

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Once upon a time, music journo Mikal Gilmore declared that Singles Going Steady, the Buzzcocks' 1979 landmark, "boasted as many pithy hooks and punchy backbeats as Elton John managed in a decade." This fact helps explain why the group, appearing locally alongside the Adored and the Strays, remains unexpectedly credible long after most of their original punk-rock contemporaries petered out or went up in flames. From the beginning, main songwriter Pete Shelley created material that transcended time and trends; beneath the careening guitars of "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" and the ping-ponging synthesizers of solo works such as "Homosapien" were mordant wit, precise arrangements and catchy melodies as hummable today as they were during the Carter or Reagan administrations. The band's 2006 recording, Flat-Pack Philosophy, isn't on the level of these predecessors, but the likes of "I Don't Exist" and "God, What Have I Done" work anyhow because they're built upon the sort of tunesmithing verities that have served Shelley well since he first declared himself an orgasm addict. Fashions come and fashions go, but pithy hooks and punchy backbeats stay in style forever.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.