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A relatively conservative release for the Dead C, The Damned doesn't break much new ground for the band and isn't the logical next step hinted at by the electronic flirtations on New Electric Music. But the band proves it can still turn a tangle of creepy rumblings, dark scrapings, and piercing squalls into art like few other bands can. The leadoff song, "Truth," is just that, a song -- just over three minutes long and maybe their most straightforward attempt at rock in years. But the surprises end there. "Atmosphere" presents a throbbing piece of industrial ambience, and on "Holy Heat" a squealing guitar is kicked along by a stumbling drunk stepfather of a drum kit. Low mumbling and a quiet, steady rhythm underpin a chiming guitar "solo" on "The Provider" before "Casino" kicks the band into a very Can-like groove. The disc ends with an untitled track, presumably a field recording from the streets of some city. It's only interesting in that it shows that, if mixed properly, such a recording can sound the same as two guitarists and a drummer. All in all, there's nothing here that Dead C fans haven't heard elsewhere. On the other hand, The Damned is relatively brief and easy to digest, so it might not be a terribly bad place for the uninitiated to start.