What a rare treat it is to stumble across out-of-print punk rock and new wave LPs within the deep shelving of the Marr Sound Archives. Aside from an impressive library of releases from Sire Records and a short stack of SST recordings, the genre’s presence in our holdings is few and far between.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived at work one morning to find a newly cataloged import copy of Buzzcock’s Love Bites which had, apparently, been stuffed away with thousands of other items from our massive backlog of uncataloged LPs. This particular copy is an import distributed by Jem Records under a special licensing agreement which allowed the label to sell the album in the USA. It’s like my very own private valentine from the universe!
Buzzcocks generated copious amounts of recorded material in 1978, including their first two studio albums, a handful of hit singles, and two sessions with illustrious BBC disc jockey John Peel. Love Bites, was released in September on the United Artists label to tremendous success in the UK. The album’s initial single “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” won NME Single of the Year and earned the band a lip-syncing gig on Top of the Pops:
If love bites then so does this record, as does frontman Pete Shelley who comes out baring his teeth. Sharp hooks and sugary melodies make this album a masterpiece of pop genius, capable of rotting your molars right out of your head upon first listen. Shelley’s lyrics range from melancholy, to downright bitter and the universal appeal of the album’s subject matter has allowed this album to stand up to the test of time as a “feel bad to feel good” classic.
Deep cuts of note: “Operator’s Manual”, “Nostalgia”, and “Nothing Left.”