Review by Mark Fleming|
4 stars out of 4
The Damned have gone down in the history of British popular music as the
band that released the first ever Punk Rock record (New Rose), a glorious
outburst of drum volleys and blistering chords that assailed an unsuspecting
public at the tail end of 1976. Their brand of Stooges-inspired,
amphetamine-driven rock was, to an extent, eclipsed by the more colourful
antics of the Sex Pistols or the more overtly political posturings of
The Clash, but their first album, Damned Damned Damned, even after 20-odd
years, is a fantastic adrenaline rush. Just like their US contemporaries,
The Ramones, the tracks collide with furious intensity. Brian James'
fretwork sounds as if the strings are red-hot to the touch, Captain
Sensible pounds out the bass riffs with nihilistic fervour, Rat Scabies'
assaults his drum kit, and over all this Dave Vanian hooks the listener
with the repetitive impudence of lyrics like 'Born to Kill', 'So Messed Up',
or 'Neat Neat Neat', the frenetic follow-up single to 'New Rose.'
The only time the 4-piece take their foot off the accelerator is for the
doom-laden, atmospheric, 'Feel the Pain', but by the album's conclusion,
a rollercoaster rendition of The Stooges' 'Feel Alright', any semblance
of musical discipline deteriorates into chaos and feedback.
Damned Damned Damned is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Its 3-chord
riots are as far removed from the MTV-friendly riffs of today's Slipknots
and Green Days as it is the bouffanted sexist bores who were wiped off
the face of the airwaves by Punk in the 70's.
This album is an excellent example of the way Punk distilled energy into
vinyl. Only now it is available on crackle-free CD.