The Damned Things – ‘High Crimes’

By Dave Stewart

The Damned Things releasing a new record could quite possibly be one of the best things to happen to music in 2019. One of the most solid supergroups, comprising some of the best musicians from all over the alternative music spectrum, releasing another offering of addictive and powerful rock. It’s been too long, fellas. Too long.

To a lot of you reading this, The Damned Things may be a name you aren’t familiar with, and you can’t be held accountable for that. They haven’t released a record in nine years and haven’t played any shows in seven, with each member spending the majority of their time focusing on their main projects. If you haven’t been exposed to their swagger, unforgettable hooks, and seductive tones, then ‘High Crimes’ is sure to take you from unaware to unable to stop listening. If this isn’t your first time, though, welcome back – they’ve done it again.

For those unaware, the band is made up of Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley (guitar and drums for Fall Out Boy), Scott Ian (guitar for Anthrax), Keith Buckley (vocals for Every Time I Die) and newest addition Dan Andriano (bass for Alkaline Trio). They come from four very different projects, but all come together to create one hell of a solid and consistent package. In this example, ‘High Crimes’ is that package – providing groovy, sexy and weighty sounds to seduce your eardrums.

This is a classic rock record in every possible way. There’s tonnes of diversity, each song able to stand tall on its own, but they all communicate together perfectly to create a boozy and bluesy journey. Faster numbers like the blistering ‘Cells’ and ‘Carry A Brick’ force you to get your air guitar out and throw some shapes, ripping every riff and solo alongside the record. ‘Something Good’ and ‘Young Hearts’ sit at perfect foot tapping tempo, filling your boots with infectious melodies and dirty rock swagger. Every pore of this record is oozing with class, making it impossible to ignore its siren charms.

Each song is great, but there are a few stand out moments here. ‘Keep Crawling’ is a biker in musical form – picture a big bearded dude wearing a leather jacket, clutching a bottle of whisky and leaning on his Harley; this track would be his soundtrack, full of dirty riffs, sexy licks and Keith Buckley’s smooth, punchy vocal delivery. ‘Invincible’ is unapologetically catchy, boasting both infectious guitar work and one of the most unforgettable choruses on the record. The bluesy serenade ‘Storm Charmer’ is the show stopper, though, and is impossible to not fall in love with. The slow waltzing rhythms lure you in, the well placed guitar wails hold your gaze, and the perfectly executed vocals completely hypnotize you.

‘High Crimes’ is a very different record to their debut, but is still fully loaded with all the characteristics that made the debut so impressive. The rock ‘n’ roll soaked licks, the thick and meaty riffs, the silky smooth vocals – all of them are present and correct, just as big and ballsy as ever. The musicianship on display is truly something to be admired, with each member bringing their A-game to the project and creating songs any rock band would aspire to write. The fact that this isn’t their main focus just makes the project more impressive, as they effortlessly set a high bar for all the peers surrounding them. They may have been gone a long time, but The Damned Things are back, and they damn well mean business.

DAVE STEWART

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