Review: The Damned – Darkadelic

When bands get 40+ years into their career, they eventually burn out and break up – it’s just the natural cycle for musicians. But for the legendary punk outfit The Damned, despite the fact they are 47 years old this year, they show no signs of slowing down or giving up. And the fact of the matter is, they keep proving the disputed doubters wrong, with the release of their brand new record.

Their 12th album Darkadelic, as a whole, sounds like a marriage between their 1982 record Strawberries and 1985’s Phantasmagoria – perfectly fusing together 60s-esque psychedelia with their brand of harrowing goth rock. And if you’re someone (like me) who adores both of these albums and regards them very highly, then this is a home run for you. It’s got a sound that I feel fans of any and every Damned record will enjoy, and it seems like a perfect continuation/companion to their 2018 album Evil Spirits. Without sounding like a pun, Darkadelic is so damned good.

There are moments full of pure punk rock-filled mayhem, most notable on tracks like Girl I’ll Stop at Nothing & Wake the Dead – but even when they sound the heaviest on this record, it’s balanced out perfectly by their 60s rock tendencies, thanks to the synth work by keyboardist Monty Oxymoron. Their new addition, drummer and music tutor Will Taylor, fits in really well with the group – providing the tasty rhythms that you hear especially on tracks like Motorcycle Man. He really carries on the torch that was passed on from their previous drummer Pinch, who left the group in late 2019.

One of the best songs, and my personal favourite track, on the album is Bad Weather Girl, a song that shows off the countless stylistic features that the group can offer. It’s somehow a song that would be great for fans of 60s pop rock, 90s pop punk, and 70s post-punk all at once if that’s even possible. While it starts off with the sound of eerie singing from an unknown female voice, it wastes no time with jumping into action, with a very upbeat rhythm that’s sure to get your body moving. Let’s not skim over the chorus harmonies either – they were, simply put, immaculate.

I’ve been a massive fan of The Damned since I was a kid; in fact, the first gig I have ever been to was their 2004 appearance at the Fakenham Racecourse when I was just 5 years old, so they’ve been a constant mainstay in my musical journey thus far. And even though it may sound biased coming from such a big fan, even the most untrained Damned fan will surely tell you that Darkadelic is one of their most exciting, thrilling, and impressive releases so far.

The question is, will The Damned slow down anytime soon? Simply put, no. And why should they? They have just finished embarking on a massive UK tour, where they debuted the album in full every night, and are due to take on America and Oceania in the coming months. Vanian himself said that he has no plans to stop writing music, and the band as a whole sound so strong on this album that there would be no real need to stop in the first place. From the sound of it, The Damned are here to stay, and they’re not going anywhere, at least not anytime soon.

Darkadelic is available now via earMUSIC

Review – Joe Richardson

Photo credit – Timo Jäger

Record store signings:

Tue 2 May – London – Rough Trade East – 7pm

Interviewed by Phil Alexander (Contributing Editor of MOJO)

Pre-order/sign up to attend:

Wed 3 May – Birmingham – HMV Vault – 5pm

Interviewed by John Aizlewood (Music Journalist)

Pre-order/sign up to attend:

Thurs 4 May – Bristol – Rough Trade – 6:30pm

Interviewed by Matt Stocks (DJ, Presenter, Podcaster & Writer)

Pre-order/sign up to attend:

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