The Darkness: Permission To Land


When I was younger, I was obsessed with Transformers: the Movie. No surprise, there, many people my age were. I mean, come on, it was cool. Robots that could turn into cars? What a brilliant concept. Someone must have had a brainwave that day, combining two things that kids love. He probably came up with the idea of Sweetheart Stout as well. Quite apart from the fantastic robot battles that went on on the screen, the other reason I loved the film was the soundtrack; unashamed eighties cock-rock, right down to the spandex enduced falsetto vocals, and the ridiculously overblown right-hand tapping guitar solos. From the day I first saw the film, a soft spot would endure in my heart for cock-rock.

And that's why I love The Darkness.

Honestly. It's not an ironic thing, I don't have an ironic bone in my body. The Darkness can both rock and be completely silly in the same bar of a song. Take 'Black Shuck' for example. The guitars may be grind and Justin Hawkins may squeal away, but that doesn't quite hide the fact the song is about a shaggy dog terrorising a village in Suffolk. See, silly. Inspired by another staple of cock-rock, The Darkness write numerous songs about the effects of love, which unlike other currently feted modern rock bands, they actually manage to make sound quite joyful. Hence we are treated to the shining anthem of 'Growing On Me', and the absolutely fantastic 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love', the band's single most Queen-esque moment, complete with midsong breakdown, and numerous (fantastic) guitar solos, introduced at one stage by the singer introducing his guitarist brother Dan with the exhortation "Guitar!". And both brothers can play their instrument of choice. It's nice to hear someone with a real grasp of their instrument. It's not actually a crime to be able to play music, you know, though the garage rock enthusiasts would have us believe otherwise.

In all honestly, this is the best debut album I've heard since 2000, when we were blessed with the first offerings from Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy and the mighty Doves. Yes, you did read write, I mentioned The Darkness in the same breath as three indie-rock stalwarts. You're not going to like it, but my obsession with melodies is going to raise its ugly head again. Put simply, Permission To Land is packed with tunes, start to finish. The musicianship is great, the showmanship is better, and they ROCK!!!! but above all, they write good songs. It's quite a rarity in the current musical climate to find a band who so manage to combine good songs with good music, the way the Beatles did, the way Radiohead used to. That's why The Darkness are on a winner.

Hold on, putting two great things together? That's given me a good idea. What about a cartoon about these robots that turn into cars.......

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