“We deliberately recorded the album retro style,” explains guitarist Captain Sensible. “The same way our debut album was made, basically. There’s something wonderful about the seventies sounds; glam, rock and punk records, they all sound so great and Tony specializes in beautifully crafted old school production. He had us all playing live, bashing it out in the same room with a focus on getting the initial band version of each song as close as possible to the finished thing.“
The first taste of ‘Evil Spirits’ was heard on lead single ‘Standing On The Edge of Tomorrow‘,
a song penned by frontman Dave Vanian
that packs a punch and carries a melody that is impossibly hard to shift once heard.
“It’s supposed to be very optimistic, even though it’s about a dark subject,” states Vanian. “As an artist, you can’t help but reflect the times, because that’s what art does. I think we always do it, but in a slightly different way. So a song like ‘Standing…’ may seem quite joyous and uplifting musically,
but some of the lyrics might be about quite dark things. That’s what I’d like to think this album is – an uplifting album, not a moaning old album – not ‘this is terrible, and that’s terrible’, and then not offering any answers. It’s more a case of, ‘If we get it together, maybe we could change things a bit”.
Across the album’s ten-tracks, The Damned get to the root of their collective song-writing and ‘Evil Spirits’ is an album which doesn’t shrink from opposing the dastardly political forces at work in 2018, and indeed triumphs in seeking higher ground, to progress beyond them.
“This album is filled with a lot of influences from our earlier, pre-’70s tastes – the ’60s stuff. ‘Standing…’ is really linked into Joe Meek, ‘Telstar’, and that kind of stuff,” continues Vanian. At first, I’d said in an interview before we started writing this stuff that the album would be psychedelic, and maybe a trip through the historical side of The Damned, as in what we like. It didn’t happen in the way I thought it would, but it still does the same thing. It still has all that in there, but it’s not as obvious as it could’ve been, which is good. It’s not like pastiches of songs you remember, it’s more a case of, what was great about something you loved as a kid has somehow influenced a guitar sound, or the way the drums are. You might not even know it if you’re one of our younger fans, but if you’re a little older, you’ll hear it, which is kinda cool.”
And of the ‘Evil Spirits’ that the album intends to dispel? “I started buying records in 1967, the Summer of Love,” adds Captain Sensible. “There were so many positive changes happening through the 60s and 70s; civil rights, feminism, the anti-nuclear demos in particular. Whatever happened to all that? Where are today’s anti-war marches? Whatever happened to the beautiful hippy dream of worldwide peace and love?”