Damned, Damned, Damned [40th Anniversary]
REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/15/2017
Amazing to believe, but here we are 40 years off from the birth of punk in the U.K. Damned, Damned, Damned, always hailed as the first full-length British punk album, still sounds as fresh and vital as it did when it originally came out. I came into the Damned late in life, having first heard “New Rose” and their cover of Love’s “Alone Again Or,” but I quickly picked up the slack and they instantly became one of my favorite punk bands.
Right off the bat with the instantly recognizable “Neat Neat Neat,” The Damned sets themselves apart from the pack and showed the British how punk rock should sound. Singer Dave Vanian instantly became an icon and still holds that crown all these years later. Brian James was a great guitarist of the era and laid down the groundwork for what was to come. Drummer Rat Scabies was a showman, but he held his own on the early records. Captain Sensible, still the band’s bassist at this point, had yet to breakout into the Captain character that punk fans know and love today. These four characters would help to create some of the strongest songs of punk’s first era.
“New Rose” is the iconoclast single it’s always been and still rocks so hard, as do album tracks like “I Fall” and my personal favorite, “Stab Your Back.” “1 Of The 2” is another hard hitter and one that doesn’t get as much love as other tracks, but because of Scabies’ intense drumming, it definitely is one of the highlights of the album. This record is just full of gems and placed the Damned in the echelon of British punk with the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks.
“Feel The Pain” is just one of those songs that doesn’t do anything for me, and it feels kind of bland these days. But coming before “New Rose,” it sets up for one of the best songs in the esteemed history of punk can’t be that bad of a thing. I mean, how bad can an album be if it ends on a great cover of The Stooges’ “I Feel Alright?”The only real negative thing I can add about this reissue is that it feels a bit unnecessary. There was a 30th anniversary reissue that added bonus tracks and the whole shebang. This reissue doesn’t have any of those bonuses – just remastered sound, though that is a plus. Nevertheless, it just feels like a cash grab. If one really wants to experience the 40th anniversary of Brit punk, go see The Damned live when they come to your town and get the full experience! But overall, this record is still great and nothing will take that away, not even the multiple reissues over the years.