Damned (The) – Grimly Fiendish

There can be no song writing collective which sounded quite as scary as Jugg / Scabies / Vanian / Merrick and in this instance / Doctor (aka Clive Jackson of Doctor & the Medics fame).  The Damned were always a strange sort of square peg in the round hole that was Punk Rock.  By 1985’s Phantasmagoria they were playing what can only described as Gothic-punk fused with certain elements of New Romanticism.  Wow how pretentious does that sound?  No don’t answer.

With this, Vanian’s vocals had changed from the urgent punk screeching (well screeching with a baritone warble) of late seventies tracks like New Rose and Neat Neat Neat into the much richer, melodic crooning of this stuff.  More pretentious nonsense.  I bought it on 10 April 1985, the Wednesday following the Easter weekend.  It had entered the UK singles chart on 30 March and was enjoying the high point (number 21) of its 7 week stay on the chart when I bought it.  In the years since Grimly Fiendish was in the charts, I’ve listened to more of their early stuff.  It’s therefore quite a shock when you hear the song as it does represent quite a marked departure from the high energy Punk days.

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