Strawberries (album)

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Strawberries
Damned Strawberries Cover.jpg
Studio album by The Damned
Released October 1982
Recorded Mid-1982
Studio Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales
Genre Punk rock, gothic rock, psychedelic pop
Length 48:12
Label Bronze
Producer
The Damned chronology
The Black Album
(1980)The Black Album1980
Strawberries
(1982)
Phantasmagoria
(1985)Phantasmagoria1985
Singles from Strawberries
  1. "Dozen Girls"
    Released: 17 September 1982
  2. "Generals"
    Released: 25 November 1982

Strawberries is the fifth studio album by English punk rock band the Damned. It was released in October 1982 by record label Bronze.

Background

The record was released as the Damned were enjoying a higher public profile, thanks to the solo success of Captain Sensible. Sensible performed lead vocals on Life Goes On and Don't Bother Me. He also introduced new instruments to the band, including sitar, and cello played by his then-girlfriend, Rachael Bor of the pop group Dolly Mixture.

While Strawberries was generally praised for its positive, up-beat melodies, the album marked a time of conflict and division within the band. During the recording, bassist Paul Gray fought with drummer Rat Scabies over management and song-writing responsibilities.[1] Gray would leave the band in February 1983 (later replacing Billy Sheehan in UFO), and Bryn Merrick took over on bass. Keyboard player Roman Jugg officially became the Damned's fifth band member. His arrival led to further experiments with the band's sound, including loops and sampling. Jugg would later move to guitar, replacing Sensible, who left the band after the Strawberries concert tour.

The album's working title was Strawberries for Pigs, a name inspired by the reception the band's newer music received from some of their older fans. As Vanian explained, "we were playing a lot of new material, and we had an audience that didn't want to hear about anything, they just wanted to hear Neat Neat Neat and New Rose nothing else. And they wanted to just smash everything. And they weren't interested in hearing music at all. So at one point, I turned around and said, 'It's like giving strawberries to a fucking pig, this gig, you know?' And that stuck in our minds, and we used it".[1]

Release

Strawberries was released in October 1982. Limited editions included a strawberry-scented lyric insert. The album reached No. 15 in the Official UK Album chart.[2]

Reception

Critics praised the album’s musicianship and 60s influences. Writing in Smash Hits, Fred Dellar gave the album 9 out of 10: "The Damned go totally melodic, offer harmony vocals, employ cellos, sitars and brass sections, and even remember to include a lyric sheet […] This is the kind of pop album Paul McCartney would be pleased to have his moniker on". [3]

In Sounds, Steve Keaton wrote that "Strawberries is the Damned at their most melodic and subversive". He added that the album "manages to indulge both Dave Vanian’s darkly obsessive Gothic vision and the good Captain's psychedelic whims without sacrificing any hard rock sensibilities. 'Strawberries' should be the LP to grant the Damned the recognition they've courted for so long". [4]

Trouser Press described the album as "eclectic and inconsistent but well-produced [...] and boasting some fine tunes [...], [Strawberries] shows Sensible's increasing pop prominence [...] and Vanian's willingness to explore a stylistic pallette with no debt to punk".[5] Other critics have noted the album's embrace of psychedelic pop,[6][7] as well as gothic rock.[8][9][10][11]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[12]

In a negative contemporary review, NME called Strawberries "a miserable (w)retch of a record, spewing fourth enough nauseous 'nostalgia' to fill a book entitled 'Why The Damned Never Made It', without once touching any spirit. It seems they're doomed to regurgitating their history 'til the aftertaste becomes too bad to bear".[13]

AllMusic's retrospective review was favourable: "Recuperating a bit from The Black Album's uneven impact while still aiming to try whatever they want in studio, [...] [Strawberries is] by turns sprightly and cheerful, dark and dramatic, energetic and snarling, or all that and more at once, [...] [and] defies usual expectations to be yet another good rock album from the band".[12]

Reissue

On 7 January 2005, Castle Records re-released Strawberries in the United Kingdom on CD.

Track listing

All tracks written by Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Paul Gray and Rat Scabies, except as noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Ignite"   4:53
2. "Generals"   3:24
3. "Stranger on the Town"   5:14
4. "Dozen Girls"   4:34
5. "The Dog"   7:25
6. "Gun Fury (Of Riot Forces)"   2:57
7. "Pleasure and the Pain" Gray 4:23
8. "Life Goes On"   4:09
9. "Bad Time for Bonzo"   3:29
10. "Under the Floor Again" Sensible, Scabies, Vanian 5:29
11. "Don't Bother Me"   2:10

Personnel

The Damned
Additional personnel
  • Simon Lloyd – brass (2)
  • Rachel Bor – cello (7)
Technical
  • Hugh Jones – production
  • Linda Roast – album cover design
  • Martin Poole – album cover design
  • Nigel Greerson – sleeve photography

References

  1. ^ a b Hutchinson, Barry. The Damned The Chaos Years An Original Biography. ISBN 978-0-244-30256-6. 
  2. ^ "Strawberries". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 2017-05-16. 
  3. ^ Dellar, Fred (1982-10-14). "The Damned: Strawberries". Smash Hits. Retrieved 2017-05-07. 
  4. ^ Keaton, Steve (1982-09-25). "The Damned: Strawberries". Sounds. 
  5. ^ Robbins, Ira; Pattyn, Jay. "trouserpress.com :: Damned". trouserpress.com. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Rabid, Jack. "The Damned - Grave Disorder". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "The Damned: Strawberries". www.avclub.com. 2007-05-31. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  8. ^ "Strawberries - The Damned | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  9. ^ "The Damned - Strawberries". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  10. ^ "TheMusic.Today - Music album Strawberries by The Damned". themusic.today. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  11. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2002-01-01). All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879306533. 
  12. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Strawberries – The Damned : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Sanai, Leyla (September 1982). "The Damned: Strawberries (Polydor)". NME. Retrieved 1 November 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 

External links

  • Strawberries at Discogs (list of releases)
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