Despite Brian James leaving The Damned the band carried on (after briefly folding) and almost surprisingly the music was still as strong.
Brian James was responsible for a lot of the tracks on Damned Damned Damned and Music For Pleasure. The band shuffled a bit and Algy Ward (from Tank) picked up the bass. With Captain Sensible switching to guitar The Damned took on the challenge head-on.
Love Song the first single from Machine Gun Etiquette was a very strong record and powered past the muted Nick Mason production of the bands 2nd album. With Algy Ward the band somehow captured the Motorhead vibe that was resonating at the time too. Motorhead’s time had almost arrived and The Damned went toe-to-toe with them despite not selling anywhere near as many records in the long run.
Dave Vanian sounds supreme on Love Song – but flip the record over and two classic tracks lay awaiting on the B-Side. Noise Noise Noise may be no Neat Neat Neat but it’s one hell of a B-Side. Suicide is daft but hits the right spot too.
When The Damned released the 25th Anniversary edition of Machine Gun Etiquette I bought the CD as soon as I saw it. I do not usually go for luxury edition, etc – but this was essential. Loads of extra tracks – the best of which being Ed Hollis produced takes of Love Song and Noise Noise Noise. On these extra tracks the production is so good you cannot figure out why The Damned didn’t release these versions in the first place. Vanian’s voice sounds more menacing, the music is rawer and it just sounds much better than what were admittedly very good records anyway…