The Damned • Darkadelic [CD, LP]

THE DAMNED are still with us. That’s basically a good thing, for it’s hard for me to imagine my life without these clowns in it. I started listening to them in my early 20s and have never stopped. The problem is, they’re just not what they used to be – which is to be expected, but still…

This week saw the release of Darkadelic, The Damned’s fourth album of new-material in the 21st century, and it’s quite similar to their last one, Evil Spirits. I declined to review that one at the time because I felt it was nowhere near as good as 2001’s Grave Disorder, a genuinely great album, so I just couldn’t do it. Still, this new one, though flawed, has some great moments. I’ll go with “Beware of the Clown” and “The Invisible Man” as the two tracks that positively stand out, but the bulk of the rest of the album feels a bit like “generic Damned” to me. And I hate to say this! I love these guys! But there’s just something missing. There’s a vague “phoning it in” feel, for one thing, and then there’s the production. Right from the start Darkadelic feels like it’s missing some top end, sounding a bit muffled until Dave Vanian’s voice comes in and tells you that the mix itself is a bit off. With Evil Spirits, with production by the great Tony Visconti, it was more an issue of the songs themselves. This time the songs are better but the production isn’t. At least they still rock.

Oh, what is a Damned fan to do? Well, in my case, I am always interested in what they’re up to so I stay tuned in. You may likely find you like Darkadelic, if only because  – despite their name – The Damned are still with us. Hallelujah. – Marsh Gooch

3/5 (earMusic 0217847EMU, 2023)


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