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|See the glow of her saving veil of grace
Then you know that you're caught in the shadow of love
-- The Damned
(Dave Vanian & Co)
"The Damned were formed way back in May 1976 by Bassist Captain Sensible, guitarist Brian James and drummer Rat Scabies. After two gigs as The Subterraneans they discovered vocalist Dave Vanian standing in a bar of the Nashville Rooms, his almost dracula-like appearance catching the band's eye. The foursome's first 'properp gig came in July 1976 when they supported The Sex Pistols...
By November ['96] they'd become the first ever punk band to release a single - the thunderous New Rose, produced by Nick Lowe, who Scabies had abused at the Mont De Marsen gig!
(...) With Scabies' demented drumming, Vanian's gravedigger ghoul image, James' cutting psychedelic guitar and the Captain's over the top stage outfits, The Damned were simply an awesome live experience. Too much so for The Pistols who kicked them off their support slot midway through the 'Anarchy in The UK' tour, although they soon hit the mark with American audiences who lapped up the band's early 1977 dates - the first by a British punk band in the USA.
The group's hat trick of 'firsts' came with the release of their debut LP "Damned Damned Damned", in February '77 which hit No.34 in the UK Top 50 and was the very first punk LP to dent the charts.
(...) On brief chart appearance at No.42 in May 1984 with Thanks For The Night showed the world that they hadn't disappeared altogether, but by the end of the year they announced the departure of Sensible, the recruiting of new bassist Bryn Merrick, and the switching of Jugg from keyboards to guitar.
(...) With a new 'Edwardian Urchin' image and a more mainstream pop style, they scored immediate singles success as Grimly Fiendish and The Shadow of Love hit No.21 and 25 respectively.
[in '85] The band had by chance become popular with the Goth scene which had been captivated by Dave Vanian's vampirical appearance.
... the Damned released their biggest ever single in early 1986 with a re-working of Barry Ryan's 1968 single Eloise. Climbing to No.2, it spent over three months in the Top 75 and led to a flurry of media activity.
(...) Although they officially split in the summer of 1989, The Damned have continued to play numerous 'comeback' and 'farewell' tours since.
And with all the 'firsts' they've achieved, what's the betting of the Damned returning again to stalk the airwaves and plunder the charts?
Stay young, stay wild, stay eternally Damned."
"Eternally Damned" liner notes, Mark Brennan, 94
1977: Damned Damned Damned
" Consisting of defiant, acerbic, and cheeky lyrics coupled with rapid-fire tempos, this record has a young and fresh feel to it that hasn't diminished at all over the years. Similarly lending to its exciting and raw feel is that it's not overly-produced or polished, which only adds to its magnitude and longevity. The record encompasses everything that made the Damned, in its original form, consisting of vocalist Dave Vanian, drummer Rat Scabies, Brian James on guitar and the indefatigable Captain Sensible taking up bass duty, so memorable... Clocking in at just over thirty minutes in length, this album is a cornucopia of tremendously fast yet artistically sophisticated and highly developed songs, most of which were written by James. The bona fide classics are, of course, the aforementioned New Rose and the opening track Neat, Neat, Neat, a song that, with its manic guitar riffs, steady bass lines, relentless drumming, and Vanian's frantic vocals, shows the listener exactly what he/she is in for. In fact, there is only one break in the action with the blatantly macabre grand opus Feel The Pain. The Damned flirt with darkness, no doubt, on this unsettling sixth track. A disturbing song, with its dissonant guitars and eerily haunting vocals, it is a harbinger of what was to come in the band's future. That is to say, we see the band experimenting with a more 'Goth' sound and Vanian at his most theatrical..."
-- Janelle, punkfix.net
1977: Music For Pleasure
"Lacking ideas and their early zip, 'Music For Pleasure' was essentially the end of The Damned (Mark I): Nick Mason of Pink Floyd was unable to salvage things, and it was universally slated (not least by the band themselves, retrospectively). The resulting poor sales prompted Stiff to drop them and, disheartened, they announced their split soon after"
½ 1980: The Black Album
"A double album including 11 new tracks and a set of live versions of their more popular earlier releases. The new material is a mix of punk, pop, and what will later-on surface in the mid-eighties as 'goth rock'. History of the World (part 1)could very well fit on 'Phantasmagoria' or 'Anything'. Actually, 21 years later, I'm still wondering whether they'll ever be a History of the World (Part 2)...well it always pays to be patient!"
Said Sukkarieh, for musicfolio.com, 9/01
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¼ 1985: Phantasmagoria
"Phantasmagoria marks a new era for Dave Vanian's band. Now that Captain Sensible was not part of the line-up anymore, Vanian was able to let loose of his punk roots and wander into more melodic and less messy musical territories, exploring also his vampirical penchant . The outcome is arguably The Damned's best album ever, a brilliant Vanian vocal showcase, including hits like Is it A Dream, Shadow of Love, and Grimly Fiendish. The Damned were no more punk, they had become the new revelation on the gothic scene."
Said Sukkarieh, for musicfolio.com, 9/01
½ 1986: Anything
'Anything' sees the Damned stepping into pop-rock and mainstream music. Following the release of their most successful single ever, Eloise, a cover of Barry Ryan's 1968 single, the Damned strike back with the follow up album to 'Phantasmagoria', including hits like Gigolo and Alone Again Or which performed relatively well in the UK charts.
1996: Not Of This Earth (also issued as I'm Alright Jack & The Beanstalk)
"[The Damned] created a signature sound, not once but twice - first with their particular brand of punk rock and then with their movement into the more pop/gothic arena before it became a "run of the mill" sound. Now that they've stepped into a new area musically, we yearn for their "old" sound. But when they come out with something in the vein of Damned Damned Damned, we say, "Been there, done that." Well, it doesn't matter how "old" the sound is, The Damned are one of the few bands who can successfully revisit a sound they inspired 20 years ago. Most fail miserably when they try to "go back." This sounds like it could easily have been released in 1979 or 80, yet it somehow manages to be fresh and new - like something never heard before. Hearing it for the first time is not unlike hearing Damned Damned Damned for the first time when it was originally released. All the songs are worthy, but the ones which stand out most are the rocky Testify and the sultry Tailspin."
-- Nisus, AsYlem Music Reviews
¼ 2001: Grave Disorder
"'The Damned are back with a first studio album since 1986. The band was dismantled after what I consider to be the peek with the release of Phantasmagoria (1985) and Anything (1986). The return of Captain Sensible to the line up seems to have made The Damned somewhat reconnect to their earlier style in the 70's rather than picking up from where they left off in 86. This album holds a wide variety of songs that covers the different musical styles that The Damned experienced in their career. From fast rhythm punk tracks to Gothic and dark melodies and theatrical instrumentations, it can all be heard on a single record that does not focus on any particular musical theme. What captured my attention the most are two excellent soft tracks: 'Til The End of Time and Beauty of The Beast where Dave Vanian shows that his superb velvety vocal chords have not gone out of touch. Patricia Morrison (ex Gun Club and Sisters of Mercy) joined the band on this album, but her presence is hardly felt as the bass lines simply merged into the overall Damned scheme. Overall this is a solid and diverse Damned album that would please many different audiences, but I'm sure that The Damned are capable of putting together an effort that would be appreciated a lot more by the Darkwave audience if they would readopt more fully their mid 80's style. Other notable tracks: Amen, Thrill Kill and Democracy. "
-- Sami Alajaji, for musicfolio.com, 9/01
¼ 2008: So Who's Paranoid
Tracklisting: 1) A Nation Fit For Heroes 2) Under The Wheels 3) Dr. Woofenstein 4) Shallow Diamonds 5) Since I Met You 6) A Danger To Yourself 7) Maid For Pleasure 8) Perfect Sunday 9) Nature's Dark Passion 10) Little Miss Disaster 11) Just Hangin' 12) Nothing 13) Dark Asteroid
"The Damned's stength (or weakness depending on how you see it) was their ability to switch between two (and sometimes three!) chord garage punk with sophisticated and often quite experimental, albeit always melodic, neo-psych. This new album continues on this vein, but to less effect than previously. Dr. Woofenstein is almost stranger than its title, an odd concoction that's part Moody Blues pomp and part-West End finale, an influence that carries over into Since I Met You, a sacharrine ballad that would stretch the patience of even Andrew Lloyd Webber's most ardent brown-nose. Not even some Who-esque cynicism injected towards the end can save this turkey. (...) Some of the more uptempo tracks are a tad by-the-numbers but Under The Wheels and Perfect Sunday, another entry in Sensible's wry commentaries on suburban life, should slot in well in the live context without being classic Damned anthems. Two out-and-out pop numbers - Diamonds and Little Miss Disaster - are better, the latter released as a one-off single a couple of years back, but refreshing and more vibrant in the context of the album than by itself. Maid For Pleasure is less excusable, a queasy tale of domestic servitude that's just one of a number of lyrical howlers. Perhaps the key to any disappointment is the absence of Captain Sensible. For sure, his firework guitar is all over the place but he seems almost entirely absent vocally, his distinctive harmonies and backups replaced, it seems, by newer band members. This reaches some kind of climax on the closing track, the 14 minute Dark Asteroid, part Barrett-era pop Floyd and post-Barrett freakout and probably voiced by drummer Pinch. However ingrained the new musicians are (and this version of the band have been together longer than many of the classic line-ups), it's hard to get past the fact that this just doesn't sound like The Damned, a criticism you've never been able to level at them, no matter how eclectic they've been in the past."
-- cdtimes.co.uk, 11/08
Spanning the 1977-1980 punk era.
1987: Light At The End of The Tunnel
Comprehensive compilation covering the best of 1976 to 1986. Double Album.
1993: Tales from The Damned
Contains Turkey Song, extra track on the 'I Just Can't Be Happy Today' single, plus the full 'Friday 13th EP'.
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