sun 21/07/2024

Album: The Damned - Darkadelic | reviews, news & interviews

Album: The Damned - Darkadelic

Album: The Damned - Darkadelic

The latest from UK punk perennials is reliably entertaining

Lo-fi punk with the graphics too

The Damned could have been bigger contenders. As anyone who’s seen Wes Orshoski’s feature film biog, Don’t You Wish We Were Dead, will know, their career has been blighted by chaos, line-up changes, catastrophic business decisions and just plain bad luck. What they have never been short of is songs. From “Smash It Up” to “New Rose” to “Stranger on the Town”, their golden years were littered with corkers.

Their new album, their 12th, assembles a dozen songs that, while not in the league of the aforementioned, showcase rock’n’roll songwriting chops intact, exuding melodic charm and lyrical quirk.

The nearest The Damned came to “making it big” was during the mid-Eighties, when lead singer Dave Vanian’s gothic sensibilities meshed with a crisp music hall poppiness, on the album Phantasmagoria. However, they were, at that time, without their totemic bassist/guitarist Captain Sensible. He’s back in the fold and his obsession with Sixties psychedelia is all over Darkadelic (making it redolent of their early-Eighties classics The Black Album and Strawberries).

The other main ingredients are the swirling keyboards of Monty Oxymoron and Vanian’s inability to resist lyrical riffs on hammy old horror films/literature (“When the clocks go back, we’ll meet again/Where the fingers of winter trees touch the sun/With the ether thin between the worlds”!). They have a persuasive way with catchy choruses, notably on the gorgeously melodic “You’re Gonna Realise” and the ebullient “Bad Weather Girl”. A Seventies rock feel is present too, especially on opener “The Invisible Man”.

But their punk roots can be heard on the most immediate song, the bangin’ Sixties psyche-meets-rockabilly of “Motorcycle Man”. There’s a bit of filler, a couple of turkeys (notaby the naffly nostalgic “The Leader of the Gang”), but there’s also enough of what makes The Damned appealing to bring cheer to those who want more of it.

Below: Watch the video for "You're Gonna Realise" by The Damned


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