The Damned are back with new album Evil Spirits released this Friday.
It’s their first album for a decade following on from the 2008 album So Who’s Paranoid.
The Damned are one band that haven’t burnt out, like many of the same generation, but have evolved over the years, they challenge the establishment, and politics just as much as they used to and for a a band that recently celebrated forty years in the business they are back with a new album. Evil Spirits, Much of which has been road tested already during the tour and have been well received by the fans.
As a band they wanted to record the album in an ‘old school’ way and sought out producer Tony Visconti to produce and mix the album.
Says singer Dave Vanian, “It was hearing Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ that made me think about working with Tony, because it reminded of what we do sound-wise. We wanted a modern album like that, but not to lose sight of what made his records so brilliant in the past.”
Adds Sensible with characteristic gusto, “His ’70s records compare so favourably up against all the maxxed-out ultra-compressed autotuned guff that passes for records these days. We thought, ‘There’s a bloke who specialises in beautifully crafted old-school production.
The result of which is an interesting and varied album, its not punk in the 70’s sense, there’s lot of influences and styles present on this, and each member of the band has contributed in their own way, be it Captain Sensibles’s rocky guitar lines, David Vanian’s rich and varied vocals, Monty Oxy Morons keyboard work and the rhythm provided by Pinch on drums and Paul Gray’s exceptional basslines. Paul once joked of his basslines ‘if he was paid by the notes he played he’d now be a multi millionaire’
Opening track on the album is Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow, a catchy gothic rock song that really gets inside you, a great choice as a single, but the rest of the album follows in a different way. Devil In Disguise allows Monty’s keyboard to give the track a 70’s feel, almost ‘Doors’ like, like most of the album there’s much more to it, be it the role of the individual in an organization or the political undertones of We’re So Nice, considered to be a swipe at Blairite Imperialism
The title track Evil Spirits has a rocky feel with some great guitar work from Captain sensible, a stong bassline from Paul Gray, until Monty joins in with his keyboard solo as it becomes a very busy and somewhat chaotic track
Shadow Evocation lays a very dark and eery soundscape where Vanian sings ‘am I chasing a ghost of the past’ I’m not sure of that myself, the song haunting feel, Vanian vocals come across in a very gothic way, and with the feel its going faster and faster we are swept along. The album closes with track I Don’t Care that starts off in a stripped back matter but ends in a very different way.
All in this is a diverse collection of tracks, some are stronger than others, lots of different styles taken on board, but all work together to make this an interesting album, The band and its music have evolved massively over the years and I believe there are some future classics that can be drawn from it.
Feature image © Steve Gullick