THE DAMNED – NEAT NEAT NEAT

“Neat Neat Neat”

THE DAMNED – “Neat Neat Neat” / “Stab Your Back” (Stiff Records BUY 10) February 1977

The Damned “Neat Neat Neat” – This band is really kicking on every detail of its presentation. ‘Damned Damned Damned’ is too monochrome for me, but this demented Chuck Berry-goes-hooligan on a ‘Summertime’ riff makes an explosive two minutes.

Brilliant Nick Lowe production, more accessible than “New Rose”, with a bonus dub version(!) of the album’s dreary “Stab Your Back” on the flip. (NME, 05/03/77)

Nine months old, with an acclaimed single under their belts, The Damned released first LP ‘Damned, Damned, Damned’ and a similarly three worded 45.

“Neat Neat Neat” was recorded in the frenzied one-day session that produced their entire 11-song debut. In the best DIY punk fashion, Nick Lowe, recording over Elvis Costello’s demo tapes – “In between the songs you could hear this little acoustic guitar and voice,” says Dave Vanian – customised the ancient 8-track mixing desk with a bunch of lolly-sticks tied onto the switches with elastic bands so he was able to shift four at one go.

“Compared with the Pistols album, which was very polished,” says Captain Sensible who was frequently sent to the shop to buy more lollies, “ours was gnarled and beaten up. To me, it was the punk sound.”

The Damned “just banged the whole set down”, says Brian James. Hence Neat Neat Neat’s ragged glory – frenetic garage rock pandemonium with a gob of glam, like a speed-fuelled, UK New York Dolls.

It pretty much describes what each member was into: you had Brian – your typical Johnny Thunders guitar hero, sloppy but brilliant, and Captain had his hand-made bass cabinet knocked together out of plywood with a big 18-inch speaker that was broken and made that great farty sound.

“The sound on that record is fantastic,” says Vanian “Raw, abrasive but very musical.”

But though “much loved”, it didn’t chart, despite being the first Stiff record distributed via its new deal with Island. The album, however, went Top 40. (Mojo)

A coupla cutz from their latest best selling LP plus a delightful selection of Third World War tunes on ‘Singalonga Scabies’. letz ‘ear it for de boize. (Record Mirror)

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