The Damned: So, Who's Paranoid?

The Damned's vampire-faced frontman David Vanian is a hard nut to crack. It's impossible to tell where he draws the line between hammy and sincere. Therein lies the mystique of the Damned — a band that participated in punk's earliest days and went with the flow well into the new wave '80s. So, Who's Paranoid? is a refreshingly catchy album that draws from a lifetime spent crafting gorgeous melodies, punk jitters and baroque romanticism. "A Nation Fit for Heroes" and "Diamonds" are goth-laced power-pop gems. "Since I Met You" is a sappy guilty pleasure that should be skipped over in the presence of certain company. "Under the Wheels" is the real standout song; a beautifully balanced and engaging work of pop genius that, after more than 30 years in the game, underscores the group's vitality as punk's undead pop masters.

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