The Damage Manual

One

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If the members of the Damage Manual look old, it's because, well, they are. But since these guys grew old doing tours of duty with groups like PiL, the Revolting Cocks, Killing Joke, and Ministry, their debut as a band is plenty noisy and energetic. It is also, for all of its seemingly anarchic clangor, extremely well thought-out and tightly defined, from the punky jungle rattle of "Sunset Gun" to the Killing Joke homage "Blame and Demand." Chris Connelly's voice is the least immediately distinctive element of the group; on "Blame and Demand" he contributes a startlingly accurate Jaz Coleman impression over Geordie Walker's roaring guitar and Jah Wobble's typically rubbery, loping bassline, while Martin Atkins bashes away frantically beneath it all. Yes, punk rock was all about inspired amateurism, but the simple fact is that pros can sometimes do it better, and this thrilling EP is all the proof needed to support that observation. Highly recommended. (NB: The last two of the program's seven tracks, despite their relatively distinctive titles, are remixes of "Damage Addict" and "Blame and Demand," the latter, interestingly, with a bassline edited to sound more reggae-ish.)

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