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on 24 August 2011
Has no one considered the brilliance of ONE WAY LOVE,or POLITICS? No way is this album a blemish...it is simply a facet of the multi-faceted diamond which is THE DAMNED.It is truly punk and is not worthy of the criticism many seem to level at it. Audition it yourself...THEN judge. Then agree with ME!
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on 27 October 2003
I think the other writer of the review is so wrong...... I always thought music for pleasure was there BEST album. Yes, even beter than Machine Gun Etiquette. I must say i stand alone one this one because al my friend say i'm mad but hear my case:
I think the the "music for pleasure" lp sounds so much in your face, and much more american (MC5) if you like, than there other albums. The lyrics seem more personel. No relay, I think music for pleasure is the Damneds best album.
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on 20 April 2014
If one ignores the fact this LP was sandwiched between "Damned Damned Damned" and "Machine Gun Etiquette" and also that the production is a bit sparse and the song writing is a little bit rushed one can see that this is an excellent LP

The addition of a 2nd guitarist didn't really much of a difference but Rat Scabies seems to be on over drive here with some excellent drumming. Stand out songs are Problem Child, Stretcher Case, Your Eyes and the outstanding yet slight incongruous track You Know

Influences from MC5 and The Stooges but the Damned hallmark all over it - buy it, it is a great album
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on 12 March 2009
By the end of 1977, most of the bands that had surfed the punk-wave had beached with their debut LPs, but the forerunners of the punk movement - The Damned, were already racing up the beaches and beyond the dunes with the release of `Music for Pleasure' their follow up to their 1976 debut LP `Damned, Damned, Damned'.

I had anticipated the release of `Music for Pleasure' and after purchasing it on the day of its release, I rushed home to play it, for it contained many of the songs familiar to me in the band's live set. By the time I had reached halfway through side two, a growing feeling of gloom and disappointment had crept over me. I never had high expectations from The Damned. All I requested from them was that they turn it up, play it fast and keep it short, but what I experienced here was evidence of some kind of `muso' conspiracy - I was not a-muse-d. But then something happened!

As the final chord of the penultimate song `Creep (you can't fool me)' resonated from the speakers, a curious thing happened - something strange and not normally assimilated with punk occurred. Out of the dying chord, a riff emerged that levitated above the ambience. For the next five minutes we find ourselves in un-chartered waters. The riff is manic, demented even, and as Vanian episodically yells: `You Know' a demonic sax - played by Lol Coxhill, vents its spleen in a Nik Turner-ish kinda-way, somehow finding the spaces in between Brian James' thick, layered dementia. I was hooked!

Sometimes it is a single track, on what initially appears to be a disappointing recording, which can ignite an album. A similar occurrence appears on Nazereth's `Loud and Proud' LP, where the gloom-metal cover of Dylan's `Ballad of Hollis Brown' transcends the album into territories uninhabited by mere mortals. As a result of `You Know', The Damned levitated themselves above their peers. They had taken the uncomplicated, punk genre and pushed it into a direction that no one had ever considered possible. Sure, The Clash had introduced `white-man reggae' into their sound and Magazine and Wire were already hinting at a progressive and almost industrial future, but here, The Damned had introduced a psychedelic-jazz element into a land, formerly inhabited by substantial items such as, safety-pins, zips and spittle.

My initial dismissal of `Music for Pleasure' wasn't entirely un-foundered, for what we witness here is a band in reticent transition. The album contains many songs that were written in the same style or were perhaps `leftovers' that were not considered strong enough for their first LP. These songs sit alongside new songs that appear under rehearsed and one gets the impression that Stiff were putting pressure on the band for an immediate follow-up to `Damned, Damned, Damned'. It is apparent from these recordings that the band were not `ready' to record their second album, but that said, if `Music for Pleasure' hadn't been released, these songs may never have been aired. Within months of its release, this inaugural line-up of Brian James on guitar, Dave Vanian on vocals, Captain Sensible on bass and Rat Scabies on drums was soon to capitulate. One gets the impression that the band were comfortable with their MC5, Stooges, New York Dolls direction and Brian James' attempts to `stretch' the parameters of the group, by introducing a second guitarist(1) to `free him up' didn't sit comfortably with his compatriots.

The debut LP `Damned, Damned, Damned' was a monster. Tight as f**k, with not a hair's breadth between the tracks. One gets the impression that the producer Nick Lowe, made the band play those tracks until their fingers bled(2). The album finishes with a version of the Stooges `I Feel Alright' and the listener is left feeling exhausted, but craving more. Maybe this is why, on first listening, `Music for Pleasure' appears so tame and disappointing.

Produced by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, `Music for Pleasure' lacks the pop sensibility and production of its predecessor. Why did Mason get involved? To give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he saw the potential in their brush with psychedelia on `You Know', but was unable to coax more of this flirtation from the band. It is more likely however, that he saw it as a bandwagon opportunity to get some kudos for his own band, frowned upon and denounced as `hippies' by the punk movement. Whichever, Mason's approach to the production here is to say the least - sloppy and demonstrates how out of touch he was with the band, where they were `at' and the then current music scene.

At times the band seem under-rehearsed and there are clumsy mistakes in the playing that should have been spotted and edited out. All of the songs on the album are great songs, many containing great riffs which, unlike on the first album, contain spaces and a freshness reminiscent of early singles by The Who and The Kinks - a decade before. One wonders what this album would have sounded like if Nick Lowe had been retained as producer. If this had been the occurrence, this LP would undoubtedly have already been hailed as a pop classic.

At times one wonders what Mason was thinking, couldn't he hear the hit potential of great songs such as `Don't' Cry Wolf', `You Take My Money, `You Eyes' or the `Devoto-ian' paranoia of `Alone'? His control over the band seems to have been non-existent, surely it is the job of the producer to harness the enthusiasm demonstrated by the band, not to let it dribble out of control on every single track? One wonders if the words, "Oy! Scabies - reel it in" were ever heard in the Brittania Row studios, especially on `Your Eyes', a track where 'less' would have certainly been `more'. On `Damned, Damned, Damned', overdubs were kept to a minimum and if they were used extensively, Lowe's ability to disguise them is to his credit. But here the overdubs are clumsy and unnecessary and attempts to emulate the New York Dolls end up sounding more like Graeme Douglas era Eddie and the Hot Rods!

Devotees to the `shrine of rock' preside warily over the re-mastering process of vinyl classics and rightly so, but for once, here is an album that cries out - no, screams out loud, for a re-hash. Nick Lowe, are you listening?!

Notes:
1. Robert Edmunds aka `Lu', is pictured and credited with guitar parts on the LP, but evidence of this is hard to find. Most of the major parts appear to have been played by Brian James. One gets the impression that `Lu' was really a foil for James' live work.

2. By 1976, The Damned were well-seasoned performers, having previously toured as support to Marc Bolan's T.Rex.
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on 27 December 2001
If you intend buying just 1 Damned album, make it this one.
The first album (Damned Damned Damned) was the 'cool' one, bought by the truckload (relatively speaking) by idiots grabbing at the coattails of punk wanting to look cool, shedding their flares and their Tubular Bells for a 3-month flirtation with the New Music. By the time this album came out punk had cooled, Pink Floyd's drummer was at the knobs (way uncooler than Nick Lowe), the record just sounded somehow cleaner, more mature - less Damned, a second guitarist had been drafted in, a jazz saxist was guesting, and the band were on the verge of falling apart.
The record was doomed. Nobody bought it.
Except for me. For this 17 year-old kid, this was *THE* record that summed up how 1976 had progressed and matured into brave new 1977. The blood and thunder and fuzztone onslaught of Damned Damned Damned had been replaced by a sound which, 25 years on, has aged far more gracefully. The material is uniformly excellent, from Problem Child ('when you get home, your Daddy's gonna tan your hide') through Idiot Box (a savage and musically brilliant attack on the poncy 'art' of NY noowavers Television - 'Tom Verlaine you may be art but you sure aint rock and roll'), and culminating in the ending of You Know, with Lol Coxhill's sax bleating multi-tracked over a gentle fade-out. And a beautifully circular ending to the second album, closing with a piece more like Funhouse to the first album's 1970. May as well wear your influences on your sleeve. Thanks Jim.
This record isnt as immediate as the first. Stick with it, it will reward you - I've played the vinyl version regularly for 25 years. It's bloody brilliant.
Trust me, buy this record.
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on 1 November 2002
This album is probably the only blemish on an otherwise spotless career of producing some great songs that everyone loves. Captain Sensible once said that he played it after years of not hearing it, and just took the record off the turntable and threw it out.
It's not that bad really though, it was just put together too quickly due to record company pressures according to band stories. They had brought in a second guitarist (Lu Edmonds), and tried to get enough songs together for an album...and then it all went ahead at full steam, and the end result was this.
There are some good songs here though. 'Problem Child' and 'Don't Cry Wolf' are great songs, but then it all gets a bit mediochre after that. 'Stretcher Case' is also another good one.
There are bonus tracks on the CD, but they aren't great Damned songs either. Oh what the hell, go out and buy it - it's the Damned after all, isn't it?
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on 11 January 2005
Seriously,anyone who doesnt like this album needs to go and buy some earex or whatever it is.This album is so good.The sound is great(Brittania Row),songs are great(Problem Child,Politics,You take My Money,Idiot Box...come on!!)This album is superb.True its not 100mph ramalama-punk but nor are alot of albums from that time.This is a tasty piece of work.If only they would play some of this stuff live.
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on 26 June 2013
And they did (see title of this review). Track 7 (You Take My Money) of what was so nearly a great follow up to the blistering debut just about sums it up. Mind you after the initial album I suppose the only way was down? There are still glimpses of chaos but that vital spark seems to have gone. So like punk itself it was seemingly all over in the blink of an eye. Only my opinion but I've always thought the addition of Lu on guitar was a mistake, things just got a bit too normal. As one reviewer suggested I tried 'Earex' and it made no difference. That said its still worth the money, if only for 'Stretcher Case' and 'You Know' but as far as the original album goes 2 out of 11 is just not good enough? The release of Music For Pleasure came just a bit too quickly. They should have let the dust settle a bit longer. To quote the title of the New York Dolls 2nd album - Too Much Too Soon.
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on 23 February 2013
This is the second album from The Damned. And as they admit it themselves, it was an awkward album to do. They had attempted to make a change to their sound and experimented with new ideas, including the addition of a second guitarist. Whether the experiment worked is up to you. On my part and speaking as a Damned uberfan, I MUST have the album. Overall, it's an audible document of this astonishing band which may be more suited to diehard fans only.
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VINE VOICEon 9 October 2007
'MFP' seemed to spell the end for The Damned. Members reformed as The Doomed, before becoming The Damned again, minus main songwriter and guitarist Brian James. The irony is, that having failed in an apparent attempt to write more thoughtful songs, they achieved maturity under the direction of Ray Burns (Captain Sensible). By the time of 'The Black Album,' their fourth effort, they were coming up with some great, varied music. As for 'MFP,' 'Problem Child,' 'You Take My Money' and 'Don't Cry Wolf' were recognisably the products of the same band who'd made the exciting 'Damned Damned Damned,' but the remaining tracks were of patchy quality.
They sacrificed the unbridled energy of their debut in favour of a more considered approach, but lacked the deftness to carry it off. At times, they sound like an amateur hard rock outfit. Some songs, like 'Alone,' possess the old aggression, but growl rather than sear. No amount of squeaky sax can disguise that 'You Know' consists of five turgid minutes.
Of the bonus tracks, 'Help' is a fast, clumsy take on the Beatles classic, 'Sick Of Being Sick' is more like the old style, and 'Singalong A Scabies' foretells karaoke: it's an instrumental version of 'Stab Yor Back.' Not the worst album you'll ever hear, but probably the last Damned album to consider buying.
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