ISSUE #8 FEB 06

Mike Short

The Darkness
"Permission To Land"

9th June 2005
Album Cover reviewer: Mike Short
rating: 5 out of 5
published by: Must Destroy Records
released: 7th July 2003
  1. Black Shuck
  2. Get Your Hands Off My Woman
  3. Growing On Me
  4. I Believe In A Thing Called Love
  5. Love Is Only A Feeling
  6. Giviní Up
  7. Stuck In A Rut
  8. Friday Night
  9. Love on The Rocks With No Ice
  10. Holding My Own

When you hear the word Lowestoft, you immediately think of quaint suburbia, retired couples, bungalows and local shops for local people. Ask music fans in six months about Lowestoft and they'll say it's the birthplace of The Darkness, perhaps the most unlikely place for a spandex-wearing, elaborate soloing, big-chorus Stadium Rock group in the UK.

Having seen these guys at the Robbie Williams Knebworth gig, I can truly say one thing: they are destined for greatness. On stage in front of 120,000 fans, they were unphased, determined and most importantly of all, excellent. In three years' time The Darkness should be headlining gigs like this.

Be under no false pretences; the Darkness have one song, but it's a bloody good one. On first listen, bar a couple of exceptions Permission to Land seems samey. However, you cannot help but be taken in by the sheer good-nature of it all and ultimately in the world of impeccably dressed, scruffy haired bands, they come as a breath of fresh air. On this record, big solos, big hair and big hooks come in abundance. And you'll love every minute of it.

It starts off promisingly with the amusing 'Black Shuck', a song all about a huge supernatural dog that terrorises East Anglian Church goers in the 18th Century (no really). This sets the pace superbly, and is ultimately what The Darkness are all about. They don't take themselves too seriously, and know how to belt out a decent tune.

After the comical, Spinal Tap-esque, 'Black Shuck', you have the triple whammy of 'Get Your Hands Off My Woman', 'Growing On Me' and 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love'. All are excellent songs and are worthy singles to be taken off the album. 'Get Your Hands...' is one of the harder rocking songs off the album, with a notable AC/DC feel in comparison to the ever present, overbearing Queen influence elsewhere on the record. It's a rollicking tune, a real fist pumper if you will. 'Growing On Me' is a superb, superb, superb record. It is arguably the finest track on there, and hints at the quality of tunes The Darkness will hopefully be writing down the line. If they write more of these, they needn't worry about their shelf life. '...Thing Called Love' is a resolutely Queen affair, and perhaps the weakest of the trio, yet is still an excellent pop song. A great testament to the band's ability.

Elsewhere, there are thoughtful ballads ('Love Is Only A Feeling'), comical lyrics ('Friday Night') and big choruses ('Love On The Rocks With No Ice'), all adding a pseudo-depth to the affair. Whilst you really want to like the latter songs, you can't help but feel that although there are some good moments on there, it does trail off a little after the excellent first half. By no means is the second half bad, it just isn't as engaging as the first. Tracks like 'Givin Up' and 'Stuck In A Rut' saunter along at a fair old pace but fail to truly rock the listener that many of the other tracks do.

All in all, this is a very good album. The pacing could have been better, but weighing in at ten tracks, it is a manageable, easy listen and makes a nice change from many of the current 'The' bands on the market. A good album with great promise.