So, Who’s Paranoid?
Four Worlds Media
Ancient, ancient, ancient but still alive, and that’s more than most punk bands have to offer. The Damned is now down to two original members- Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible- and like the best sounds of their generation they have smoothed out their voices, tightened up their arrangements, and moved to a more power-pop sound. They’ve also re-entered the vinyl world; we thought it was dead format like papyrus scrolls and heraldry. But it has arisen like a bad politician, this 2008 disk reappears not only in colored 180 gram format but new CDs and even a few new tracks. But let’s begin at the beginning. Opening track “A Nation Fit for Heroes” offers calmed down punk chords, a shift to an “X”-inflicted blues guitar riff and adds a Farfisa keyboard before launching into a bouncy screed against middle class suburban life. I’m not accusing anyone, but at this point in their career I suspect they aren’t squatting in Brixton anymore. Then there a light horror ballad “Dr. Wolfenstein”, it’s more Dexter’s laboratory than Dr. Calagari but it’s has a nice traditional folk structure. There’s even a slow dance number in “Since I Met You;” it’s complete with vocal harmony and actual gooey romance replacing the righteous anger that normally fuels punk. That job falls to “Danger to Yourself” or “ Perfect Sunday”, these are more in line with the sound that caught our teen age years in the dark days of the 1970’s.
Extra tracks include “Aim To Please”, a rip snorter with a more metal sound and “Time” which takes us back to a Sky Saxon psychedelic work out with distinctive vocals. “So, Who’s Paranoid?” is a very solid effort from a classic band that set the tone of an age. There nothing her that will make you wince and more than a few tracks that will get your grey head banging ever so softly.