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The Darkness

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    The Darkness

    Permission To Land ( 2003 )
    Black Shuck / Get Your Hands Off My Woman / Growing On Me / I Believe In A Thing Called Love / Love Is Only A Feeling / Givin Up / Stuck In A Rut / Friday Night / Love On The Rocks With No Ice / Holding My Own

    I call this kind of music driving on the motorway music. Not only that, it's driving on the motorway music for professional thirty-something's trying to re-live their youth. The Darkness consciously pitch their 'thing' at the thirty-something crowd, also fully aware that teenagers will dig it, because teenagers won't have heard much of that Seventies/Eighties rock stuff and will think The Darkness are somehow new. Of course, we're getting a lot of this kind of retro-rock thing at the moment, an awful lot of it. Some groups are better than others, of course. That's only natural. The Darkness differ from some of the other recent groups - The Darkness aren't American, they're from the UK. They share a kind of polite sound that groups like The Stereophonics provide us with. As far as the vocals are concerned, the singer tries for a little vocal playfulness here and there, soaring aka Freddie Mercury or trying to scream aka AC/DC. Trouble is, his voice doesn't suit either mode. His voice has absolutely no 'grit' about it, whatsoever. Having said that, the singers voice is the only really notable thing about this album. The competently produced set of musical backings complete with proper guitar solos - is akin to listening to a bunch of long-haired session musicians. Tongue in cheek, but you suspect they actually take all of this thing far too seriously.

    A song like the over the top ballad 'Holding My Own' wouldn't sound out of place on a US teen and school based comedy show on television. It's that kind of sound, a polite parent pleasing sound. Switch to the start of the album, we get delightful vocal acting all through the truly silly 'Black Shuck', and here at least, The Darkness raise a smile. They manage to successfully take the piss of eighties metal. With every song that passes however, smiles become less and less. Mid-way through second song 'Get Your Hands Off My Woman', this passenger was near to falling asleep. Motorway music, as I said. The driver is having a grand time and everybody else is drifting blissfully into sleep, everything is relaxing and sweet. The sun is shining and we're all living in a perfect, idealized world. That sounds very nice, doesn't it? The thing is, I don't really want rock music that sends me to sleep, however nice the journey was in the meantime.

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    Readers Comments

    Aaron glenn@mitchell1818.fsnet.co.uk
    Well some one agrees at last how can so many people i know like this less than avaerage well a bit crap nostougier act who are most likely laughting at all the people who brought the stuff they probley never thought would get anywhere near this big if there not there kidding themsefs there just a fun band that are anouing not bad live thou well ive only seen them live on tv but they were good nostougier act. I say 4/10

    David filterite@hotmail.com
    How do people like this shit?

    Larky larky348@hotmail.com
    I saw them for nothing when I was given £150 tickets to see the Roling Stones, and the Darkness were in support. They were so loud I couldn't hear them. I hadn't heard of them before. I couldn't hear at all afterwards.

    bass player edd eddie123zeppelin@hotmail.com
    they suck. Probably the best british rock 'n' roll band in over a decade, but they still suck 2/10

    Tom porthgainhammer@hotmail.com
    im sorry but i have to disagree with all of your comments, the Darkness rock, and its about time we had a british band who sing happy songs, 'i believe in a thing called love' is going to be remebered for some time, and so will the Darkness, thumbs up baby, i watched them live about 4 months ago and the place bounced a brilliant show

    Jim Jim@hotmail.com
    I am a 15-year old who listens to 60's, 70's and 80's groups and I love them. I think the Darkness are pretty crap but they do convert teenagers from the manipulative commercialism of Hip-Hop and pop, which is a good thing, right?

    robert bob_2152_bob@yahoo.co.uk
    In fairness while not a great album, it does make a refreshing change to the era of manufactured plastic pop which has been on the increase with the domination of television "talent" shows, which are little more than glorified kareoke shows. With the charts clogged up with "artists" such as gareth gates, girls aloud and michelle mcmanus one has to worry about the state of the british music industry, where singles sales plummet an record companies which used to pursue good up and coming bands now chase the latest fad in order to increase profits. However there is a lot of good talented bands coming through. Bands like Coldplay encourage fans to pick up a guiter and get writing. A band like the Darkness, whilst not being the greatest, do have a widespread appeal and can only further encourage a new generation to make a musical effort. We can only hope that in time a new Lennon, or Mercury, or Jagger will come forth. In the meantime bands like the Darkness act as an antidote to! the rubbish that mass produced, sound-alike identikit groups produce. However the Darkness aren't the greatest and the album was a little disappointing. Conversely though i did like the music, although i feel the lyrics were not as good. But they do know what they are and what they are not. And anything that makes a nod to the glamrock era can not be a bad thing.

    K HistoricRocker@aol.com
    I can't imagine why half the people commenting are saying the Darkness bring a refreshing change. They DON'T! Try listening to Muse or Radiohead: they may not be as mainstream but they're certainly a thousand notches above the Darkness... yes, they are driving music, which I DON'T like.

    Brian badger@gregory1972.fsnet.co.uk
    Ok, the joke's over now. One song was amusing and even refreshing given the current musical climate. Enough is enough however,please stop! this joke's not funny anymore. Please fuck off

    Kathy ame38@msn.com
    Robert, You can't keep blaming TV Talent shows for destoying the British Music Industry. It was ruined long before these shows were ever shown on the TV. This is due to different generations buying the music. As for the likes of Gareth Gates and Michelle McManus clogging up the charts, is utter rubbish. Niether charted very high with their last efforts. I agree that these talent shows are becoming annoying and are more about the judges and making a mockery of people by purposely showing rubbish auditions and turning it into a comedy show. But lets not forget that one of our finest male vocals for years came from one of these shows. (Will Young) Who was voted by the public, simply because he was a refreshing change to the crap we were listening to in the charts. At the end of the day, it is the sales figures of albums that do the talking. Not the chart positions. I don't find The Darkness a refreshing change to our industry. I was around to remember the Glam Roc! k bands, and I don't think The Darkness would have stood a chance against some of the great acts of that time. As for the lead singers voice. It is awful!

    shannon, star_69_96@hotmail.com
    As morrisey once said, that joke isn't funny anymore. People please remember, anything so overproduced that you can't actually hear the interplay between instuments cannot be consiered good or healthy for the mind. At least AC/DC had balls

    Jonny Bravo jayson_colhoun@yahoo.co.uk
    This is not my real name. I'm incognito as I bought this album and actually enjoyed it for a week. I even had a heated debate with my Dad in which I proclaimed the darkness would be around for years. You cannot see this but i am crying at this memory.

    Jason scoot517@eden.rutgers.edu
    Wow. Never have I read such negative reviews for one of the best albums in the past twenty years. Not only are the Darkness a million times better than any of the other shit out now, but they are one of the most talented bands in the world. Why don't all of you take your heads out of your asses and try to recognize good music when you hear it.

    Joe Aston captain_virage@hotmail.com
    I like to consider myself a serious musician and musicfan (Clash, Pixies, R.E.M., Joy Div),but this is definitely my guilty pleasure band of the moment. These guys are really good musicians and songwriters, and their only serious flaw, as with Goldie Lookiní Chain, is that they donít take themselves serious enough. They camp it up and take the piss, but isnít that fun for a change? As for the above K, fuck you. I much rather hear a bitchiní (wink) Darkness guitar solo than bloody Thom Yorke whining about how he wet the bed again or that Muse tit trying to break my poor eardrums.

    Simon odd_fellow@hotmail.co.uk
    One of the best albums of the past 20 years? They're a novelty act. I find them quite funny to be honest, but to say they're a million times better than anything else out there is quite funny too. Do Radiohead count as still out there? Do U2? The Darkness are not very good, they're quite enetertaining, but ultimately pointless. One day you will look back at that post and find it slightly embarassing.

    chris chrisftet2004@yahoo.co.uk
    U must be kidding!this is at least an 8.5/10!The Darkness are a revelation in these times of manufactured pop shite, bland so called credible singer songwriter toss and over-serious-up-themselves-pretentious -we're so cool-fuckwit-indie bands with no discernable musical talent.this lot can have a laugh and write tongue in cheek and know they have the musical genius to back it up. great great songs, interesting ideas and absolutely killer rifs, and lots of genuine soul.its everything music should be!it also pisses all over so called kings of fun metal AC/DCfor musical invention and stinging axemanship!!. 9/10

    Luke pokerluke@hotmail.com
    This comment really surprises me, when the album ends with two very sad songs. 'Love on the rocks with no ice' portrays one of those dead relationships that's easier to stay in than to leave, and does it well. 'Holding my own' covers the flipside, the pain when you finally part, beautifully - while still managing a little humour with the title's sly double entendre. Taking the content of the second album on board too (infidelity, ageing and going bald, drug addiction, being widowed), surely even the most misery-craving Radiohead fan should find something to like in The Darkness's lyrics. Beyond that, they sure know how to write hooks and are perhaps the best purveyors in the world of that guilty pleasure, the rock ballad. It's not just 'motorway music'; it's rainy Sunday afternoon music, christmas at a disco music, mourning-the-ex! -you-still-love music. And this album is definitely the best record in all musical history to feature badminton, archery and needlework in its lyrics.

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    One Way Ticket To Hell And Back 7 ( 2005 )
    One Way Ticket... / Knockers / Is It Just Me / Dinner Lady Arms / Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time / Hazel Eyes / Bald / Girlfriend / English Country Garden / Blind Man

    Ah, we've seen the story of The Darkness so many times before, haven't we? Band release mediocre debut album, get hyped to the hilt and proclaimed the best thing since sliced bread. Sell loads of records. Same band comes back two years later and even before the follow-up album is released, the press get the knives out. Second album receives a wealth of mediocre reviews but is actually better than the debut. Second album sells only a tenth of the debut. Said band in question, rightly confused after believing their own hype when releasing the debut album, promptly split up. It's that age old story, isn't it? I'm being deadly serious by the way, both about the above scenario and about 'One Way Ticket To Hell And Back' being better than the debut. It clearly is, the writing is more consistent and the band take themselves both more, and less, seriously. The Queen influences for example are unashamedly all over the place, far more so than the debut. The Darkness like Queen, Oasis like The Beatles. Why not? A few tracks towards the end of the album are genuinely hilarious, the band obviously taking the piss, which is nice to see. Yet, taking the piss musically as well as lyrically. So that's a step forward from the debut record, right away. The start of the album is much the same kind of thing as the entire 'Permission To Land' record. Polite driving music for those wind in the hair moments. Justin Hawkins falsetto is rather overused.

    I'll pick out my favourites, then? Well, 'Girlfriend' should be the second single and it should be released to coincide with valentines. 'Girlfriend' is plainly ridiculous from beginning to end. The Queen moments come in for the massed chorus, the rhythm of the track sounds funny all by itself, a kind of quick paced happy rhythm. The chorus is irritatingly catchy and the lyrics plainly very silly from beginning to end. The instrumental break is very silly indeed, the band not even pretending to be anything other than taking the piss, the guitar solo alone indicates as such. 'Girlfriend' is followed immediately on the album by 'English Country Garden', another Queen moment, a Queen moment where it almost seems like Justin Hawkins is auditioning himself and the entire Darkness band as potential Queen members. Very 70s, very silly indeed, yet obviously so. The majority of the rest of the album, title track included, is much as the debut was. Worthy rock music, slightly dull rock music. Ever so slightly more consistent than the debut, writing wise. Perhaps 'One Way Ticket' lacks as many immediately catchy radio-hits, but overall we could call the album a small step in the right direction. It's peaked at number 11 in the UK album charts. That position alone is indication enough of the sheep like mentality that at once propelled The Darkness to stardom in the first place, and is now set about taking them down.

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    Readers Comments

    Olivia led_zep_4eva@hotmail.com
    I would give this album 8/10. Better than the first. My favs are Hazel Eyes, One Way Ticket, and English Country Garden. I get excited when these come on.The other songs are great too. Love it! And I love how they've experimented with instruments such as the Sitar(the solo on One Way Ticket is great!) and the pan flutes. Oh, and I love the bagpipes in Hazel Eyes

    Joe Le Beau joeleb88@tiscali.co.uk
    The Darkness are a breathe of fresh air at a time when bands are taking themselves far too seriously. Music of late has been far too politically influenced for my liking... Permission to land is easily one of the best albums this century - its one of them records that you can play start to finish and like all of it. One way ticket, while not matching the success of the debut, is still a good album. 'English country garden' and 'seemed like a....' are easily the best tracks. Its suffered from second album syndrome and could be the making or the breaking of the band. I think they'll be around for a long time yet, and thats a good thing! Best band in the world at the moment

    Dan Mashford dmashford1981@hotmail.com
    I am a fan of the Darkness - but this album surpassed all my expectations. Is it just me?, Hazel Eyes, Girlfriend, English country garden and blind man are quite simply awesome tracks. And after seeing them on their uk arena tour I believe they will be around for many years to come - no matter what the critics/press/short memory'ed masses say. 9/10

    extentofmysin extent_ofmysin@hotmail.com
    Most magazines are giving this second album better reviews than their debut, but that may be largely down to the fact that they have finally realised with their large fanbase and writing skills, this group seems likely to stay and will clearly be around for the long haul. As an album, Permission to Land is the one with the most lastability however- the new album may have strong writing, but songs such as 'Girlfriend' are very repetitive and straightforward, so tire easily. One Way Ticket also rocks far less than before, with only 'Is It Just Me?' and 'Dinner Lady Arms' really standing out, so rockers proceed with caution. There is nothing on here to really compare with the likes of 'Thing Called Love' and 'Friday Night'. Having said that, One Way is worth listening to at least once, just dont expect it to be as good or last as long as Permission... 3 out of 5!

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    Hot Leg : Red Light Fever 8 ( 2009 )
    Chickens / You Can't Hurt Me Any More / Ashamed / I've Met Jesus / Trojan Guitar / Cocktails / Gay In The 80's / Prima Donna / Whichever Way You Want To Give It / Kissing In The Wind

    Hot Leg are Justin from The Darkness plus musicians that are far better than The Darkness at playing their instruments. Unfortunately for all you that never liked The Darkness, this is still the overblown and hysterical man-rock of old albeit with extra playing 'ooomph' in places. The fact Hot Leg have been all but ignored by the media just convinces me how the media exactly work. The Darkness were no better than Hot Leg are, quite the opposite. The second Darkness album actually was better than the first and i'll have that written on my grave, if you like. As for 'Red Light Fever', Justin still likes to sound like Brian May on the guitar and his falsetto is still present and correct. Thankfully though this debut Hot Leg album doesn't just get the full blown production of Justin of yore. A song like 'Whichever Way You Want To Give It' would be a stand out on either Darkness album but the suspicion remains that in 2009 nobody cares and if The Darkness hadn't received such a huge promotional push initially nobody would have cared then, either. That's the way the world of music works, unfortunately. Listen to 'Prima Donna', this is proper seventies rock music and Justin does his falsetto which is fine but I really do enjoy the crunchy and fat musical backing. 'Kissing In The Wind' is brilliant for a Justin Hawkins composition. Catchy, overblown, medieval and Queen-like all at once. 'I've Met Jesus' is mucho guitar wankery added to stupid lyrics all wrapped up to form what purports to be a song. Well, you always do get the good, the bad and the ugly with Justin, don't you?

    I've been thinking, i'm going to be generous and give this album an 8, because this really is exactly the sort of music we should be listening to during the worst depression for fifty odd years. Stupid, played fantastically well by a band that by all accounts are a hot live proposition. Such is the lowly status of Justin these days, they've been playing places like Exeter. Nothing against Exeter, I used to live near there. It's just a bit of a commercial comedown, that's all. Who could forget also Justin failing to get nominated for the United Kingdoms' Eurovision entry a few years back. He'll be kissing the ground now of course in thanks that he didn't get the nod. Still, 'Trojan Guitar' has been released as a single and is just as stupid as you would expect. Silly deep voices, excellent guitar passages, booming drums and Hot Leg for all the world sound like they are auditioning to join the Queen live band. Queen could do worse though. Indeed they have with their comeback album with Paul Rodgers. Queen fans everywhere should really like Hot Leg. Yes, I know Hot Leg are incredibly stupid but let's forget that. They are also one hell of a lot of fun. The Darkness? They were the shit. Sorry, my mistake. They were shit. Hot Leg are immeasurably better.

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    Readers Comments

    Sundance Heart-Attack USA
    I think that Hot Leg is great and the only downside to the album is that Justin co wrote 3 of the songs with someone else. I am a Darkness fan and they kicked ass. Whoever did the reviews on this site should be fucking ashamed of themselves. The reviewer couldnt tell good music if it whipped its cock out and jammed it down their stupid throat.

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    this page last updated 09/10/09

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