Much has been made in recent of years of The Damned's turbulent history and their place in the scheme of things - normally revolving around their not making it as big as the Sex Pistols or The Clash, but here we are in 2018 and The Damned have survived for decades whereas those two bands' lifespan can be measured in months and years. The Damned have always been a hardy lot: they lost their principle songwriter after the first two albums (one absolutely fantastic, the other more of an acquired taste), but came back with a third that smashed it (up), their expanding sonic abilities setting a new benchmark. As the first wave of punk soaked away and the 80s dawned, they embraced psych, keyboards and even elements of prog before kickstarting the UK goth scene and finally finding mainstream success a decade after their debut single, New Rose, was released.
One of the reasons the Damned's early work has dated better than many of their contemporaries from the first wave of U.K. punk was their disinclination to deal with the events of the day. While other groups wanted to sing about dole queues and a repressive government, the Damned wanted to smash things up and have fun doing it, rock & roll themes that have stood the test of time.
Punk music, at its core, has always been reactionary. Push aside the great hair, veganism and DIY ethics; and at its core punk's ideology has always been to stand up and kick against societal wrongs. With The Damned's Evil Spirits then, there's no need to salt the corners and reach for the sage. These demons have been conjured from the depths of our culture; and The Damned are very much here to cast and call on them, and maybe, just maybe, teach young punk-witches how to fight for what they believe in.
The advantage the Damned always had over their punk contemporaries is the fact that the British band always provided their music with a certain level of confident sophistication. This may have come from their choice of producers, as the four-piece have worked with chic musicians like Nick Lowe, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason and composer Hans Zimmer. On Evil Spirits, the Damned's 12th LP and first in a decade, the quintet attempt to lean heavily of this sophistication, bringing in famed Bowie, T. Rex and Morrissey producer Tony Visconti. Although the band haven't really made a notable album since the close of the '70s, this ten-track, 42-minute LP stands as some of their most focused and stylish work to date..