The Damned - So Who's Paranoid?

Ten tracks into this the ninth "official" studio album from "The Damned" and the mantra of "Nothing" hits home. As Dave Vanian spits out the lyric "nothing ever changes" over a heavy garage guitar riff and a thundering bass driven rhythm, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this is simply business as usual for the true ambassadors of UK punk rock. But guys and ghouls I'm pleased to tell you that couldn't be further from the truth.

"So Who's Paranoid?" is the bands first album since the Nitro released "Grave Disorder" of 2001 and it's a sonic trip to a galaxy full of strange music hall characters like "Dr Woofenstein" ready to melt your brain. From "A Nation Fit For Heroes" it's evident this is the psychedelic "Damned" of "The Black Album" that we dealing with here, with most of the songs driven by spirals of 60's influenced organ and cleaner by jagged guitar. This being especially evident on the fourteen-minute head fuck of "Dark Asteroid". If you could bottle the spirit and energy that drove The Who's Sell Out to the core of your souls then you won't be far off the electricity that enshrouds "So Who's Paranoid?"
"Dave Vanian" takes centre spot driving the theatrics of "Since I Met You" and "Natures Dark Passion" like "Winslow Leach's" better looking younger brother recanting tales of passion and lust from below that black cloaked heart of terror, that has terrified audiences worldwide for going on 32 years.

But, that's not to say guitar is nowhere to be found on "So Who's Paranoid?", and with tracks like "Just Hangin'" and "A Danger to Yourself" you can just imagine the Captain spinning wildly like some whirling nautical dervish, whilst the dark lord Vanian points croons and coerces the front rows of the worlds audiences into yet another musical maelstrom.

To quote the guys own works of art "So Who's Paranoid?", certainly is Music For Pleasure and is what I would imagine the band tried to achieve when they first crossed paths with prog/psychedelia on that aforementioned album. With repeated listens this album worms its way into your psyche and you find yourself humming / whistling / hollering (delete as applicable) the bombastic rock of "Little Miss Disaster" or "Maid For Pleasure".

Not to be written off as a mere heritage act like so many of their peers, "The Damned" are back in 2008 with a sound set to the scar the musical universe.

Question is "Are you ready for the trip?"

4 and ½ out of 5

by Johnny H.

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