Overall, this album sounds like Queen and AC/DC had a baby (an ugly one at that) and raised the kid on Van Halen and Judas Priest. When the kid reached his more formative years, he found a copy of Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell. If the wave of “nu-rock” bands of the past two years (The Strokes, The Vines, The Hives, etc.) were supposed to bring back an era of simplicity, The Darkness are bringing back the era of drunken arena glam (almost theatrical) rock with a helping of pop-sensibility. Believe me when I say that each of these songs has the ability to become a chart hit, even if most would have to be censored.
Lead singer Justin Hawkins is known for his disturbingly tight unitards (“disturbing unitards” is a redundancy), and his piercing falsetto cuts through the crunchy riffs of his brother, guitarist Dan Hawkins, and bass player Frankie Poullain in very much the same way Freddie Mercury’s wailing cut through Brian May’s guitar and John Deacon’s bass. As far as the overall musicality of the band, everything pretty much grooves together. Drummer Ed Graham and Frankie lay down thumping beats that just scream hard rock. Dan Hawkins’ guitars spit out riffs so crunchy they will chip your teeth. Justin Hawkins also plays guitar, synthesizer and piano. While his keyboard work is nothing to write home about, his guitar solos are killer. The most comment-able aspect of The Darkness’s music, though, is Justin’s singing voice. His natural singing voice is reminiscent of The Cure’s Robert Smith if he were wearing very tight pants. For anyone who doesn’t know, falsetto means “the voice in a man which lies above his natural voice” (think Monty Python routines). Justin’s falsetto is nearly glass-shattering.
You will like this album if you like to (1) get into your music, (2) laugh at your own goofiness, and (3) just fucking ROCK. However, there are a few tracks that show the mellow side of goofy British glam-pop-metal-rock. “Love Is Only A Feeling,” “Friday Night,” and “Holding My Own” slow the metronome down and give you some nice songs to sway to, rather than the high-kicking, air-guitaring, David Lee Roth-esque acrobatic gymnastics that come pouring out of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love.” The only complaint I have at all is the fact that it’s only 10 tracks and just over 38 minutes. C’mon guys, if people are charging $18.99 for a new album, you can at least give me more than that.