The Damned

Not of This Earth

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When Captain Sensible left the Damned in 1984 after five terrific albums, he took the heart and soul of the band with him, and for the most part, they only came back when he returned for numerous reunion tours. True, singer Dave Vanian and drummer Rat Scabies also wrote great songs on three 1979-1982 LPs, and they had enough talent left over to come up with one more very good album in 1985, Phantasmagoria. But 1986's Anything should have been titled Nothing, and the follow-up a decade later is equally disappointing, if only by Damned standards. In fact, there is much to like here, with the addition of the Godfathers' guitarist Kris Dollimore and New Model Army's old bassist, Moose. But like Anything, the material recalls the band's 1984 '60s-tribute LP as Naz Nomad & the Nightmares. Without Sensible's wild guitar playing, and most of all, his deft pop touches, this sounds nostalgic and trad where albums such as the sensational Strawberries were post-punk masterpieces. However, if you have no history as a Damned disciple, Not of This Earth is a perfectly solid LP, filled with catchy little numbers such as "I Need a Life" and "My Desire," which still show plenty of overrated indie types and alt-rockers a thing or two. Besides, Scabies is one of the best drummers of the last two decades, and Vanian's familiar voice is a treat. But memories of much more inspired, unique work in the past casts at least a "Shadow to Fall" over this otherwise decent LP.

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