Spiral Scratch

Buzzcocks Spiral Scratch EP(Mute)


Spiral Scratch EP [I](Mute)[/I]

First released in 1976 in a flush of excitement at having just seen the Pistols, this is tinny, amateurish, neurotic, untogether, out of tune, ridiculously short and proved to be a life-altering cultural event in the lives of thousands. At this point, Magazine’s Howard Devoto was still in there with the Buzzcocks alongside Pete Shelley, and they sound like they’re fighting each other for space on the mic.

Now that production levels have been boosted to new maxes, I can’t pretend anyone’s going to be blown away by ‘Spiral Scratch’. Next to the Prodigy, it sounds like a storm in a tin cup and its fascination is largely historical. What’s still striking is the sheer urgent spew of spontaneity – “[I]I say what comes to my mind”[/I], the brilliant two-note Krautrocky guitar solos and the sense of precinct bleakness that informs, say, ‘Boredom’. That’s one of the reasons why, even though we’re currently living through another 1975, there isn’t another punk revolution around the corner. Kids have forgotten how to be bored, the sort of pointed energy you get here has been dissipated by a million distractions, from Sega to the Net.

David Stubbs