EP Review: The Damian Cullen Band – “Paved With Good Intentions”
About 35 years ago, the Ramones first reared their heads with a string of classic albums and laid down the simple template for the “wuntoofreefor!” pop-punk brilliance that would serve them well for the next two decades. And the genius was that they made it look so easy – three chords, big gang chant chorus, riff you could happily pogo your brains out to, job done. But the thing is it wasn’t as simple as it looked – trust me, I’ve come across more than my share band of bands who’ve tried to repeat the trick perfected by Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and whichever drummer was on board at the time but utterly failed to remember to include a memorable tune along the way. Clearly Da Bruddas were actually a much cleverer band than they’re sometimes given credit for.
Which makes it such a nice surprise when you come across a band who can do this sort of music with a well-aimed chorus which plants itself in your brain and refuses to let go. The last ones who really spring to mind in recent years are Croydon’s finest Kitty Hudson but at long last I think we’ve found another. Step forward Mr Damian Cullen, British ex-pat now residing in Helsinki (apparently the Finns are more receptive to the sort of music he likes – hey, they gave the world Hanoi Rocks, I ain’t arguing) and a man who’s come up with a bit of a cracker of a four-track EP here. Lead-off track “Story Of My Life” is sadly no relation to the Eureka Machines classic but stands up as a damn fine song in its own right, one part Ramones, one part Dead Boys, one part Dictators with a catchy-as-hell bubblegum pop chorus which you will find yourself whistling for hours afterwards. Ditto tracks two and three “Wonderland” and the razor sharp slice of attitude that is “I Don’t Wanna Play House” while ending the EP with a version of the Choirs’ “It’s Cold Outside”, as also covered by Stiv Bators, is a nice nod to Mr Cullen’s influences.
Definitely one of the best EP’s I’ve heard this year, this is a group that shows a hell of a lot of promise. Those of you who’ve kept the rock ‘n’ roll flame burning in your hearts over the last few years in the face of all that mass produced TV reality show pop rubbish, treat yourselves to a copy of this EP for Christmas. You deserve it.