Buzzcocks

French

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

So named because of the concert location in Paris, French captures the '90s Buzzcocks lineup ripping through an extensive, energetic set of old classics and newer material both. It's not quite a perfect recording through and through -- Shelley's vocals skip up and down a bit in the mix, and one can't shake the feeling that the guitars aren't coming through as forcefully as they should. Still, French beats most bootlegs and will definitely be of interest to the hardcore fan. As a general document, however, it's a touch more hit and miss. One thing it definitely demonstrates is that while Barker is a competent enough drummer, when it comes to re-creating Maher's peerless work on the older material, he just can't quite take it to that higher level. Both Diggle and Shelley rock along just fine throughout, trading guitar lines and keeping the songs moving with pretty much the same level of intensity as in the past. Shelley's singing has definitely settled down a bit over time, a touch less strained and frenetic in comparison to the late-'70s days, but still has a general vigor. Diggle provides harmonies throughout just as in the old days and sings his own songs well. One thing French definitely shows is that newer songs like "Energy" and "Innocent" can indeed slot in comfortably beside many of the classic numbers, at least in terms of getting a crowd juiced and excited. Still, all it takes is a listen to the solid performances of songs like "I Believe" to realize the higher standard the newer numbers have yet to match. As a programming note, French does include a sharp take on then-recent single "Libertine Angel," which has yet to surface on an album, while the American version includes three more songs than the U.K. issue: "Orgasm Addict," "Oh Shit," and "Fast Cars."

blue highlight denotes track pick