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Tuesday Tunes: Spotlight on The Darkness

Hot_Cakes_Album_CoverThose who have always found The Darkness ridiculous aren’t going to change their minds after hearing “Hot Cakes,” the third album from the retro-glam rockers, and first since their sort-of breakup in 2006.

 But those who found the band’s spandex, teased hair and serrated guitars deliciously mindless and unabashedly fun will wolf down this return like a plate of, well, you know.

 The Darkness – the original foursome of singer Justin Hawkins, his guitarist brother Dan, bassist Frankie Poullain and drummer Ed Graham – waste zero time getting to the vapid point on the blues rock stomper “Every Inch of You” that opens the album.

 “I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to be a vet. Until I heard ‘Communication Breakdown’ on a TDK D90 cassette,” Justin squeals, along with some sexually suggestive lyrics that are quite hilarious.

 The beauty of The Darkness is that the band has never taken itself seriously, but manages to create winsome, punch-the-air arena anthems stuffed with earworm choruses (which should go over well during their stint opening for Lady Gaga in Europe).

 Just listen to the hook-filled “Everybody Have a Good Time” – complete with cowbell! – or “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us,” which sounds like Queen and Bryan Adams spawned a rock ‘n’ roll demon child. They’re irresistible roll-down-the-windows singalongs designed for disposability.

 The Darkness even covers Radiohead’s “Street Spirit,” which finds Justin’s falsetto ready to shatter glass and Dan’s guitar racing like Mick Mars’ in Motley Crue’s “Livewire” days.

 The band can tone it down a notch, too, as on “Forbidden Love,” a purposely overblown power ballad. Lyrics such as “I tell myself that I’ve moved on, but I’m still crazy about you. And just because I’m not allowed doesn’t mean that I don’t want to,” might not be Rock and Roll Hall of Fame worthy, but so what? Not everything needs to be Dylan.

 So here’s our advice to enjoying The Darkness: Place tongue firmly in cheek and rawk on.

Also available now:

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Last of a Dyin’ Breed,” featuring Black Crowes bassist Johnny Colt (Skynyrd’s bassist since 2001, Donald Evan, died in 2009).
  • Dispatch, “Circles Around the Sun,” the first album in a decade from the group that one of its singers, Brad Corrigan, says is referred to as, “the biggest band nobody’s heard of.”
  • Owl City, “The Midsummer Station,” from the guy behind the 2009 hit, “Fireflies.” For his fourth album, Adam Young is joined by Carly Rae Jepsen, Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and Relient K’s Matt Thiessen.
  •  Project 86, “Wait for the Siren,” the eighth release from the Christian rockers that has an interesting twist – the band released the album through funds raised from the fan-based Kickstarter campaign.
  • Trey Songz, “Chapter V,” the fifth album from the Petersburg, Va.-born R&B loverboy. The song “2 Reasons” features T.I. and a video shot in Atlanta earlier this year.
  • DJ Khaled, “Kiss the Ring,” from the guy also known as the head of Def Jam South. The first two singles, “Take It to the Head” and “I Wish You Would,” featured cameos from Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Rick Ross. Keep an ear out for Big K.R.I.T., T-Pain and T.I. as well.

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By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

6 comments Add your comment

John

August 21st, 2012
10:21 am

Looking forward to hearing this album. I liked One Way Ticket to Hell And Back better than Permission to Land. Bloc Party’s new album Four comes out today as well.

R_V_P

August 21st, 2012
11:04 am

Thanks Melissa, can’t wait to hear it! Love The Darkness. One of my faves is Knockers on One Way Ticket.

Spanky

August 21st, 2012
5:47 pm

These guys are fun in concert, too! ‘Gimme a D!….Gimme an arkness!!” LOL, sweet!

Danimal

August 21st, 2012
5:51 pm

Lady Gaga?! They need to open for Tenacious D and call the tour Tenacious Darkness!

Spanky

August 21st, 2012
5:55 pm

LOL, Danimal! Correct,sir!

Emma

August 27th, 2012
9:04 am

Haha! I love your review. Been streaming it via Rolling Stone, and it brought me back to my “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” days :)