Modern life, it isn't rubbish. Not if you're still partying like it's 1979....

Modern life, it isn’t rubbish. Not if you’re still partying like it’s 1979. The Buzzcocks’ album of new material, earnestly titled ‘Modern‘, may have its head on the cusp of the millennium, but its heart still beats to a punk-pop pacemaker that’s 20 years old. Whether the presence of a bonus ‘greatest hits’ CD belies a lack of confidence or signifies a pointed reminder of the band’s historical relevance is open to debate. It does, however, ensure that the inevitable comparisons are both starker and more immediate.

And, of course, just about anything would pale next to the lurchy exuberance of ‘Orgasm Addict‘ or the angular rapture of ‘Ever Fallen In Love...’. The compulsive, stabbing riffs, Pete Shelley’s weaselly, pinched vocals – the classic Buzzcocks formula was agitated, momentous perfection. ‘Modern‘, standing alone, is no bad record. Opener ‘Soul On A Rock‘ fizzes splendidly while ‘Rendezvous‘ and ‘Speed Of Life‘ carve characteristically stylish shapes with razor-sharp guitars. But ‘Don’t Let The Car Crash‘ sounds like Loverboy, and there’s an attempt to incorporate what can only be described as a ‘rap interlude’ in ‘Doesn’t Mean Anything’. Both of which would be perfectly acceptable, perhaps, if it weren’t for the spectre of former glories hovering so close by.

A 9/10 then, for the oldies. And because it’s an inversion of the same, only amounting to less, a 6/10 for ‘Modern‘.