The Damned, Keep ‘Em Alive
Spinefarm Records/Search and Destroy Records
We loved Creeper’s latest record – dark, gothic punk with a heavy leaning towards the theatrical. And now, to feed our love for goth-punk even more, is genre royalty The Damned! Their energy hasn’t faltered for decades, and it definitely doesn’t on latest release Keep ‘Em Alive.
The song was recorded at the iconic Rockfield studios – aka the studios that spawned The Black Album amongst other famed Damned releases. And nearly 30 years on from their first visit, of course, Dave Vanian and the gang have more than still got it. Keep ‘Em Alive is a dark jam, and a thrilling introduction to the upcoming Rockfield Files EP.
It’s classic Damned, spat out into 2020 – opening with a serene synth line and birdsong, the idyllic tone doesn’t last for long. A haunting refrain of ‘keep ‘em alive’ kicks in along with hammering guitar, bass, and quivering synth, and the song begins in earnest. As with any Damned song, Keep ‘Em Alive is simply: an anthem.
Paying close attention to the lyrics, though, and The Damned’s dance with the pastoral sticks long after the birdsong is drowned out – lyrics about bees, spiders, crickets, leaves, nature in general abound. Is this the sweetest Damned song ever? It’s practically All Things Bright And Beautiful, a far cry from the days of New Rose – but The Damned pull it off with panache.
Keep ‘Em Alive is both quintessential The Damned, and The Damned liberated from the constraints of darkness. The Rockfield Files look set to be as nostalgic as they are vividly present – we can’t wait.