The Damned - Damned Damned Damned (Cover Artwork)

The Damned

Damned Damned Damned (1977)

Stiff Records

It’s always baffled me how Damned Damned Damned is so often neglected to be classified alongside contemporaries like Never Mind the Bollocks and Rocket to Russia. It certainly boasts a comparable amount of influence, and it holds up remarkably well. Furthermore, truly encapsulates the brash, rude, but also incredibly catchy appeal of a crucial point in the emerging narrative of London’s legendary punk subculture. So why it’s not held to the same amount of esteem as, say, The Clash’s debut, is beyond me. Above all else, Damned Damned Damned, is an absolute essential: a widely known, but crucially under-celebrated piece of punk history.

This album hit the ground running with “Neat Neat Neat”. As soon as the band explodes out of that incredibly catchy opening bassline, it’s pretty clear that this is not your run of the mill classical snooze. “Neat Neat Neat” is a momentous anthem built on a fiery vigor, vital to the introduction to such a historically crucial record.

With that bombastic introduction under their belt, The Damned were free to traverse a more restrained domain with “Fan Club”. Though “Fan Club” lacked the iconic vigor of “Neat Neat Neat”, it compensated by enthralling listeners with its erratic dynamics.

Of course, a review of Damned Damned Damned would be incomplete without mention of the band’s debut single, “New Rose”. The Damned is an unfortunate case of a band setting the bar too high at the outset. Sure, they would go on to release a multitude of incredible records, and outchart “New Rose” on numerous occasions, but nothing quite lives up to masterpiece that started it all. Once Vanian’s strained yelp, bridging the gap between that legendary drum hook and that vivacious, bluesy guitar lick, hits, this song does not let up. It’s playful, bouncy, chaotic, and, most importantly, it has manner of sticking in your consciousness long after that final cymbal clipping frenzy of a build.

Damned Damned Damned is chock full of incredible deep cuts as well. “Fish” is a whimsically punchy earworm, “Stab Yor Back” is a concise blast of energy, clocking in at just under a minute (and reprising quite nicely in “Singalongascabies”), and “I Feel Alright” is possibly the most chaotic way to construct a cut without expelling its sing-along humor. This is a classic that prevails as more than the sum of its singles.