So when this arrived in my inbox just before Xmas, I filed it under “Interesting, check out later”, not really knowing what to expect. Dealing With Damage are a post-punk band from London, formed in 2015, who have spent more of their collective lives than is advisable playing in bands like Sink, Done Lying Down, K-Line and Jerry Built to name a few. I’ll confess that on its initial airing I was probably preoccupied with some pre-festive nonsense and don’t recall it making much of an impression on me.
They released their debut album ‘Ask The Questions’ on Little Rocket Records in early 2020, just as the pandemic hit. Despite being robbed of the opportunity to play live, like most bands, they used the down time creatively and are now getting ready to release their second album ‘Use The Daylight’, written and recorded in the midst of the pandemic and subject to all of pitfalls and challenges that that entailed.
Fast forward to January 2023, and it’s time to revisit all the new releases again, in the vain hope that there’s something to wake me up from this frozen musical post LadBaby wasteland that is 2023. Cranking up the volume for some concerted listening reveals Use The Daylight to be the first genuine antidote to that malaise.
Recorded in various sessions between 2020 and late 2021 at No Recording Studios with John Hannon and then with Pat Collier at Perry Vale Studios, ‘Use The Daylight’ delivers a broader collection of sounds and styles than featured on their debut album as Dealing With Damage develop musically and lyrically; keen to push the boundaries whilst retaining as articles of faith, the punk rock energy and zero bullshit attitude of their previous releases.
If album reviewing was like wine tasting, my sampling would report underlying notes of Beastie Boys, A, Travis Cut, Catherine Wheel and even Carter USM, with a Fugazi main body completed by some full on melodic punk rock. From the acoustic Alt-country opening “Sunrise” replete with slide guitar, to the closer “Sunset” (clever huh?) Dealing With Damage seek to defy classification. Indeed you could easily pick 3 or 4 songs back to back for a playlist and you might be forgiven for thinking that they were by different artists. Walking Backwards Into The Future has a flavour of Jim Bob’s vocals delivered by Ed Wenn, even the title would fit snugly on any Carter album without a raised eye. Instrument is simply the best song that Fugazi never wrote, I can’t find higher praise than that. The twin guitars/vocals of Wenn and Andy Myers are magical without being derivative in the slightest. The vocals on Rinse Repeat Rinse remind me very much of the delivery of Chris Evans – Travis Cut, but the guitar work takes it another direction, shades of Stuart Adamson’s Big Country bagpiping in places.
Keep Moving sees them change gear and invade the space previously occupied by A and The Beach Boys. My only gripe is at 1:18 it is too short, but you can’t have everything I guess.
We Make Bombs To Feel Safe is another Fugazi-ish outing (if Ian Passey from Humdrum Express did the vocals)
John’s Gone is written about the late John Hannon, who the band were very close to and worked with on some of the album before he died.
If you want to know how the rest of the album sounds then I suggest, now the first payday of 2023 is here, that you go out and buy it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed if you like the sound of it so far. Come on people, do I have to do all the hard work for you?
Dealing With Damage are:
James Sherry – drums
Paul Grier – bass
Andy Myers – guitar and vocals
Ed Wenn – vocals and guitar
‘Use The Daylight’ is released January 27th 2023 on Little Rocket Records. Order HERE