The Damned, Grave Disorder

Peter Parrish

By Peter Parrish

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Grave Disorder

The Damned
Darkness shot through with a decidedly cheeky grin.

The pun-tastic title should be a pretty major clue as to the nature of these scamps. Eternally engaged in a tug of war between the hammer-horror leanings of Dave Vanian and a more knockabout punk-larks approach favoured by Captain Sensible & Co., this 2001 reunion record strikes a beneficial balance between the two. Vanian's deep croon adds a splash of sophisticated seduction throughout the whole proceedings, whether gradually patching together details of a film noir murder case on “Thrill Kill” or singing a moving ode to the hallucinogenic properties of “Absinthe.” Even his illustrious vocal cords, however, cannot make the extended Michael Jackson lampooning session “Neverland” sound like anything other than comedy hijinks. “With his only friend a chimp / you know he's mad mad mad.” Quite. Accompanying these jolly and not-so-jolly tunes is a whole host of manic riffing, frenzied pot-bashing and the occasional full-on instrumental meltdown. The Gun Club's Patricia Morrison shows up on bass to add a spot of extra goth-cred, but the darkness on offer here has a decidedly cheeky grin at all times.