The Damned

Tales from the Damned

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The Damned's period on Ace/Chiswick Records in the late seventies and early eighties was one of the band's busiest, with a slew of EPs and side projects surfacing. Some tracks and B-sides were captured on the CD reissues of albums like Machine Gun Etiquette, but most remained out of print in the digital age until this fantastic collection surfaced. Commissioned for Cleopatra, Tales from the Damned is a detailed, thorough and fantastic sounding collection with fine liner notes to boot. Three cuts -- the hilarious rip into "Disco Man," an anti-holiday standard, "There Ain't No Sanity Clause" and a live version of "Looking At You" -- had received the digital treatment before. Otherwise, it was lost classics -- and non-classics! -- ahoy. Starting with the great rough pop/punk gem "Burglar" -- with sore-throat vocals from either Captain Sensible or then-bassist Algy Ward -- Tales covers everything from a collaborative smash with Motorhead through that band's "Over the Top" to a surprisingly faithful cover of the Rolling Stones' "Citadel." The humorous side of the band comes out on a lot of these cuts, whether it's the semi-skit that concludes "Burglar," the intentionally moronic "I'm So Bored," or the wonderfully profane "Anti-Pope," appearing in its rare violin-tinged alternate version. A fair number, though, are straightforward and all the better for it -the keyboard-touched, strong pop ballad "The Limit Club," one of Vanian's best vocal showcases, the wonderful "Teenage Dream" and the moody instrumental "Seagulls," a chance for the band to relax in a calm, reflective way.

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