Picture of Buzzcocks

Spiral Scratch EP

Buzzcocks - Spiral Scratch EP ©1977 New Hormones
1. Breakdown
2. Time's Up
3. Boredom
4. Friends Of Mine

As punk exploded in 1977 (the year that has inspired millions to chant, "Remember '77", even if they weren't even born yet), several bands emerged that stood the test of time. The Ramones, although predating the punk explosion, were one of the first bands to prove you didn't need to be Steve Howe to play guitar. This naturally inspired more ordinary folks to pick up instruments, form bands and play amateurish music. Some of it actually turned out pretty good.

Case in point are England's Buzzcocks, who featured Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto in their earliest days. The band were certainly rough around the edges, but had an innate sense of songwriting that elevated them above many of their peers. The band's debut single was called Spiral Scratch and featured four catchy little tracks. It was the only official release to feature Howard Devoto singing before he left the band to start Magazine. Pete Shelley assumed vocal duties after Devoto's departure. Spiral Scratch is somewhat clumsy yet entirely endearing. No one is going to confuse these guys with Yes, but that's quite the point. The four songs are an energetic little romp and demonstrated the band's proficiency in releasing powerful singles.

Though the Buzzcocks are best enjoyed on the fantastic Singles Going Steady compilation, Spiral Scratch is a necessity for any fan of early punk. The Buzzcocks have provided inspiration for bands from Green Day to Nomeansno to thousands of others. Later releases might find the band more refined, but the debut captures the young band in a very interesting stage of development.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2006

Back to top