If the Damned called you to make a record you'd do it. Admit it, as much as you might consider them has-beens the chance to make a record with Dave Vanian's awesome voice or Captain Sensible's crazy guitar playing and cool songs would be something you couldn't pass up. David Bianco, who has worked with Tom Petty, Afghan Whigs, Frank Black, Mudhoney and Buck Cherry among others, got that call and he said, "Yes." The thing is, it's actually pretty "damned" good. There's a really full, intense vibe to the rocking tracks that was captured well (unlike some of their early records), drums smashing and Dave's voice sitting on top just right. The band claims it's not "overproduced" but it's certainly got a lot of little touches that add to the record quite a bit, like voices off movie soundtracks, layered backing vocals, textured guitar tones, vocal effects, spacey intros and backwards cymbals. "The End of Time" even has a retro drum machine (Roland Drumatix?) that sounds really great and adds a different feel. It's a good variety of sounds and the songs are much better than you might think. If I were David Bianco, I'd be proud of what he's done here. (www.nitrorecords.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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