Published Apr 16, 2018The advantage the Damned always had over their punk contemporaries is the fact that the British band always provided their music with a certain level of confident sophistication. This may have come from their choice of producers, as the four-piece have worked with chic musicians like Nick Lowe, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason and composer Hans Zimmer.
On Evil Spirits, the Damned's 12th LP and first in a decade, the quintet attempt to lean heavily of this sophistication, bringing in famed Bowie, T. Rex and Morrissey producer Tony Visconti. Although the band haven't really made a notable album since the close of the '70s, this ten-track, 42-minute LP stands as some of their most focused and stylish work to date.
Comprised of original members Dave Vanian on vocals and Captain Sensible on guitar, along with early '80s-era bassist Paul Gray and late '90s members Monty Oxymoron and Pinch on keyboards and drums respectively, the Damned seem to gel well musically. Gray's elastic bass lines carry the band through "Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow," while Oxymoron's new wave-indebted keyboards bring a depth to "Shadow Evocation" and Vanian sounds simply suave on "Procrastination." But what truly makes Evil Spirits so intriguing is that no one thought anyone from punk's first decade could make an album this competent in 2018 — especially not the Damned. (Spinefarm)