The Damned

The Damned

The Damned

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.

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