MCA-39039 Phantasmagoria
Produced by Jon Kelly (track 6 by Bob Sergeant and The Damned)
Released on July 1985
UK CHART POSITION #11
Find it at GEMM
MCA-39039 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

O rder be damned, this is the first Damned album that I bought. Damn, damn, damn. Not that it’s a bad record, but the band’s original punk principles had since been abandoned for a sort of gothic Adam & The Ants sound. Like The Stranglers’ later music, the songs are often very good but the arrangements too studied. Some listeners really enjoy this record, supposedly those whose love of darkness runs only skin deep, and I can’t begrudge them their mild mucking about in the graveyards of the gentle nobility. But in my personal vision of the underworld, there’s no place for Gary Barnacle’s saxophone, no sanctuary for the nasal psychedelia of “Edward The Bear.” On the other crawling hand that wouldn’t die, “Sanctum Sanctorum” is as cold and creepy as a crypt, and the spaghetti western refugee “Shadow of Love” is done al dente. While I wouldn’t say a theme is at work on Phantasmagoria, a Poe-tic coupling takes place on “Sanctum Sanctorum” and “Is It A Dream.” Vanian’s vocals are a little precious, like Ian McCulloch, but sung with a rich clarity. (It occurs to me sometimes that musical critics are no more than frustrated, would-be sommeliers. Me, I don’t like wine and can’t stomach hard liquor, so I listen to music and drink water with a little slice of lemon in it and write suitably sour reviews.) My favorite track on here is “Grimly Fiendish,” which is pure English pop drawn from the music hall rather than the hall of the dead. Yes, it’s very silly, produced by Bob Sergeant and the band with more than a little Madness in their method. Ultimately, Phantasmagoria is a very well produced record that fits stylistically somewhere between Echo & The Bunnymen and The Stranglers. It’s a damned better sight than most American new wave bands, but a little more cuddly than an album called Phantasmagoria by a band called The Damned has a right to be.

MCA-39039 back cover
MCA-39039 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. STREET OF DREAMS    (Rat Scabies/Dave Vanian/Roman Jugg/Bryn Merrick)    5:36
  2. SHADOW OF LOVE    (Dave Vanian/Rat Scabies/Roman Jugg/Bryn Merrick)    3:49
  3. THERE'LL COME A DAY    (Roman Jugg/Bryn Merrick/Rat Scabies/Dave Vanian)    4:13
  4. SANCTUM SANCTORUM    (Dave Vanian/Roman Jugg/Bryn Merrick/Rat Scabies)    6:22
  5. IS IT A DREAM    (Rat Scabies/Roman Jugg/Dave Vanian/Bryn Merrick/Captain Sensible)    3:27
  6. GRIMLY FIENDISH    (Roman Jugg/Dave Vanian/Bryn Merrick/Rat Scabies/Doctor)    3:47
  7. EDWARD THE BEAR    (Roman Jugg/Rat Scabies/Bryn Merrick/Dave Vanian)    3:34
  8. THE EIGHTH DAY    (Rat Scabies/Roman Jugg/Dave Vanian/Bryn Merrick)
  9. TROJANS    (Bryn Merrick/Roman Jugg/Rat Scabies/Dave Vanian)    4:47

    Bonus blue vinyl 12-inch single
  10. ELOISE
  11. BEAT GIRL
  12. TEMPTATION

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  13. GRIMLY FIENDISH (BAD TRIP MIX)    5:11
  14. SHADOW OF LOVE    6:42

CREDITS

ROMAN JUGG --
BRYN MERRICK --
RAT SCABIES --
DAVE VANIAN --
Gary Barnacle -- saxes and brass
Luis Jardim -- percussion
Steve Nieve -- keyboard inspiration (4)
Andy Richards -- additional keyboards
Paul Shepley -- additional keyboards
Jon Kelly -- engineer
Chris Ludwinsky -- additional engineering
Bob Carlos Clarke -- photography
Booce -- calligraphy

return to THE DAMNED discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK July 1985 MCA LP/LPWHT/LPPIC MCF/MCFW/MCFP 3275 avail. in white vinyl or picture disc
US July 1985 MCA LP MCA-39039  
BRA 1985 MCA LP 27046  
GER 1985 MCA LP 252 337-1  
UK 1986 MCA LPX MCG 3275 w. bonus 12"
UK   MCA CDX MCD01887 w. bonus tracks

 

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