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The Damned - 'Evil Spirits' Album Review


1. Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow

2. Devil In Disguise

3. We’re So Nice

4. Look Left

5. Evil Spirits

6. Shadow Evocation

7. Sonar Deceit

8. Procrastination

9. Daily Liar

10. I Don’t Care

The Damned are a few of the last bands standing from the Punk revolution of the late 70's. The current line up of The Damned is David Vanian (Vocals), Captain Sensible (Guitar), Monty Oxy Moron (Keyboard), Pinch (Drums) and Paul Gray (Bass). The band that launched a thousand Goth bands return with a new studio album a decade since thier last night. The cover looks like an old horror film poster with the band members listed like a film cast.

'Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow' opens the album. It kicks straight in with Captain Sensible's twangy psychobilly guitar. This is a theatrical track in which David Vanian delivers uplifting lyrics with his rich voice. The band deliver a rich cacophony of sounds with deep bass and horns.

'Devil In Disguise' is an energetic Garage-Punk monster, replete with Monty Oxy Moron’s era-specific Farfisa organ, a raunchy Vanian vocal attack and classic Sensible guitar chimes. Goth Punk at it's finest with the message that people should blame individuals but the organisations they represent. This has been release as a double A side single along with Look Left.

'We're So Nice' starts off sounding like a classic Damned number with reverb guitar. However when the vocals kick in it resembles a New Wave / Britpop crossover. There are some really tight harmonies throughout complimenting Captain Sensible's Rock guitar. The outdoor is very psychodelic.

'Look Left', the other single already released, is a "sweeping sugar-coated mind-grenade, addressing post-millennial society’s “media-induced coma”. The intro is a simple low vocal with keyboards and a quiet top hat. It builds into an almost Prog Rock piece of epic storytelling. David Vanian delivers a complex vocal showcasing his vocal range. Oct Moron's keyboards are beautiful throughout and the track fittingly ends with the Hammond singing.

'Evil Spirits' again is a contrasting track starting with simple backing melodies with a twinkling guitar. Paul Gray then lays some heavy bass riffs. This seems to be a 70's style Rock song, plain and simple, but then ends in somewhat anarchy. Almost like a pumped up electric jazz!

'Shadow Evocation' brings us back into the more expected land of the Gothic. It is a haunting song that starts with echo spoken vocals with a low organ. A roll of the timpani drums kicks off the intro proper. Vanian's sombre vocal combined with backing vocals and a fast paced guitar riff reassure is that we are in more familiar territory.

'Sonar Deceit', which starts unsurprisingly with a sonar sample, high tempo drums and Oxygen Moron's Hammond organ. With equally high tempo guitar and tambourine fused with Vanian's vocal this resembles The Damned do Swing. The track almost feels like a heavy 'Devine Comedy's number.

'Procrastination' continues in the same vein. The Hammond organ is joined with three beat guitar and hand clapping which delivers a sixties groove. Vanian gives us a vocal which has a Bowie lilt to it. This again morphs into a Britpop style of song. The star of the show again is Oxygen Moron's organ.

There are glorious horns in the intro to 'Daily Liar'. This is the age old message for us not to believe everything you read (apart from this review of course!). 'Tell me what's in the news today', 'I believe all you say, the Daily Liar'. The song has a funky groove and Paul Gray's bass shines through and sounds very much like The Stones with some of the riffs.

'I Don't Care' is one of my favourite tracks on the album. At first it seems like a stripped back number with a simple intro with piano and Vanian's rich voice laid bare. The there are few guitar chords and a roll of timpani and the song rocks it out with some fantastic horns. It transitions yet again into a sweet instrument Al outright, thus reflecting the diversity of the whole album.

'Evil Spirits' is an incredibly diverse album. The Damned could have simply released a copy of their previous style of work, but this is anything but that. I think that this is probably the best release in the last thirty years for the band. Which not only shows how long The Damned have been around but how relevant they still are.

Evil Spirits is released on 13th April on the Spinefarm Label.

Review - Tony Creek

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