January 19, 2018

The Damned - Phantasmagoria (1985)

The Damned had one of the longest relevant tenures in English punk rock. Just like how the Clash found a second wind with funk and ska sounds, The Damned kept going because of its successful adoption of the gothic rock sound. Captain Sensible (arguably the group's primary pioneer) left the band before this album, leading to a record dominated by Dave Vanian's gloomy vocals and the developments of their newly added keyboard player. This complete dedication to a goth-pop sound proved commercially successful in 1985, where Siouxsie Sioux, The Cult, and Echo & The Bunnymen were already doing damage to the charts. Phantasmagoria is an easy and enjoyable listen no matter the time of day, but some of the tracks--although melodic on the surface--feel like the band is on autopilot with nothing super powerful to say. When The Damned does hit their stride, however, it couldn't be more perfect: those first two songs. I feel like a good handful of the goth-pop lovers in my generation don't know about this album, simply because The Damned is more known for their earlier, punkier records. So if you like the goth sound and haven't heard Phantasmagoria, be sure to check it out since it's a solid strike in the genre. The album cover is phenomenal too and is kiiiind of the only reason I wanted to listen, but it sure paid off.