Probably the first punk-era box set, Product is an almost-complete collection of the Buzzcocks' original 1976-1980 incarnation. It's only almost complete because it doesn't contain their debut indie EP, Spiral Scratch, the legendary bootleg Time's Up!, or their songs from the Live at the Roxy, London WC2 compilation. By removing the Buzzcocks' earliest and punkiest songs, Product skews the group's history somewhat, presenting them as more of a power pop group than the DIY punk pioneers they were in the very beginning. (Needless to say, this also erases Howard Devoto from the group's history almost entirely.) On the other hand, it's impossible to argue with this music. The Buzzcocks were arguably the best of the first wave of U.K. punk bands (only the Clash could touch them in terms of musical quality, and they weren't nearly as consistent) and listening to this three-CD set, it's immediately apparent that they were never ones to be bound by punk orthodoxy. There's no empty nihilism in these songs; even the dark, alienated stuff is based in heartfelt emotion. There's a really big difference between the posturing of "Holidays in the Sun" and the reality of "Ever Fallen in Love." The set includes all four of the group's original albums -- Another Music in a Different Kitchen, Love Bites, A Different Kind of Tension, and the near-perfect 45 compilation Singles Going Steady -- along with the 1980 singles that had later been collected on the EP Parts 1, 2, 3, a previously unheard track ("I Look Alone," slated to be the group's last single but never released), and a fiery eight-song, 24-minute live set recorded at the Lyceum in 1977. The hefty booklet contains a long and fascinating history of the group written by Jon Savage that stands as the most complete and detailed account of the group's often confusing life. Despite its flaws and omissions, Product is a stellar repackaging and an essential document for all fans of British punk.