The Damned – ‘Evil Spirits’ (Album Review)

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In the music business, everyone wants to tell you they did something first – and most of them are full of shit. The Damned, on the other hand, can legitimately lay claim to multiple punk landmarks.

As aficionados will already know, The Damned scored the first-ever UK punk single (New Rose), first-ever UK punk album (1977’s Damned Damned Damned), and first UK punk tour of America. They were even the first British punk outfit to break up – and the first to reform again. They’re also closely linked to the origination and development of both hardcore and goth – styles, like punk itself, still considered controversial decades after they first came to be.

Evil Spirits is the result of some legendary teamwork – and it sounds like it”

This isn’t just a case of “not many other bands can say X”. The Damned have achieved musical milestones that nobody else did – and since we’re talking about firsts, these are achievements that cannot be snatched away or lost to the fickle winds of fate.

Anyway.

In many corners of the music world, people sneer at “legacy acts” who rinse and repeat without even attempting to stretch their wings again. In teaming up with legendary producer Tony Visconti for the first time ever – as well as turning to PledgeMusic to successfully crowdfund their sessions with the man perhaps known best as a long-running Bowie collaborator – The Damned have again set themselves apart. Recorded live in a mere nine days, Evil Spirits is the result of some legendary teamwork – and it sounds like it.

Musically speaking, The Damned pioneered several sounds, and have been blending the results together for decades. Therefore, it’s not shocking to hear that Evil Spirits for the most part breaks relatively little ground. Let’s face it – The Damned aren’t trying to follow trends or catch up with younger acts playing modern hardcore-rooted styles like mathcore or metalcore – let alone djent.

Nor should or would they ever think to do that – and thank fuck.

Instead, The Damned do what they do best – which is sound like themselves, and continue to put out new music that sounds, in their hands, almost as fresh and vital as it did way back when. The best songs on Evil Spirits act as bookmarks; Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow is an instant classic, while closer I Don’t Care fits three distinct movements into little more than three minutes. The latter – home to some unexpected and awesome trumpet work – really stands out, for me, as one of the best tracks The Damned have ever recorded.

Long story short, if you’ve ever cared about any kind of fast and loud music, you need to know The Damned – and if you’re totally new to them, Evil Spirits is the perfect place to start.

LTK RATING: 85% (Essential Listening!)

Pre-order Evil Spirits (out April 13) on iTunes.

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Posted on 09 April 2018

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