Damien* are another new band with a taste for all things post-punk and new wave. What distinguishes them (apart from the use of an asterisk) is that they are from Italy and they also happen to be rather good at what they do; at times recalling the excellence of Magazine.
‘Crippled Cute’ begins in hyperactive fashion as a yelped vocal from frontman Enrico and grimy bass usher in ‘On Ice’, with barely a pause for breath. The explosive beginning is continued by ‘Unaware Unaware’. It’s a vibrant start but it’s hard not to feel relieved when they slow the pace down a notch. As it happens, the more refined sounds of ‘Courtship’ are the clearest indication that they have a prolonged career to look forward to; here, the chiming guitar riff, the ever-present chugging bass and the vulnerabilities to Enrico’s tones indicate a real depth to their songwriting. It’s an idea reinforced by fellow mid-paced tracks ‘Lesser Thoughts’ and ‘Night Rush’. Meanwhile, the single ‘Confidants’ finds the hitherto missing link between the escalating riffs of The Walkmen and the boyish charm of early Supergrass.
Although it’s their second album, ‘Crippled Cute’ sounds like a debut. This is a compliment since it is so abundant with energy and ideas. Amongst these incisive, hook-laden songs there’s that rare combination of the visceral and the cerebral joining together to shape a great album.
Magazine, The Pecadiloes, The Manic Street Preachers