It's funny how the passage of time changes perceptions. During punk rock's brief blaze in the late 1970s, The Damned were, well, damned in the music press as of no worth in any department, had no major hits and seemed to have little public support. After two albums they broke up and, though they reformed, they did so without main songwriter, Brian James. For years now, they seem to have enjoyed a fond remembrance, and fans are quick to praise this debut effort.
I bought this about a year after release, having heard the two exciting singles, 'Neat Neat Neat' and 'New Rose.' Despite being produced by Nick Lowe, who quickly realised the band's musical shortcomings, the record looked and sounded cheap and nasty. It also weighed in at a mere half hour, like most punk albums. Nevertheless, 'Damned Damned Damned' is explosive, exciting and the tracks are remarkably catchy. Only the grisly 'Feel The Pain' is slow. The tactic is otherwise all-out attack, James propelling an inferno of sound from his guitar.
I'm almost tempted to give this full marks, but the band's musical deficiencies, together with some shallow lyrics, prevent me from doing so. It's a high-energy, high-enjoyment album, but 'Stab Yor Back,' for instance, is even too moronic for The Ramones. A minor punk milestone, though.