Album review: The Darkness: Last Of Our Kind
Release Date: June 2, 2015
I recall central park in fall….wrong story wrong movie wrong precursor to another amazing English band.
The Darkness. Who the hell is The Darkness? That is all I heard for many years in North America as I preached them to be the saviours of a mundane rock scene. All I had to do was go on a business trip to England, spend a few days with my colleague’s family who all loved The Darkness. Mom and Dad in their fifties who could relate to the Freddie Mercury sounding frontman, their son and daughter in their late teens adoring the new rebels from their homeland. In fact they had just seen them at Reading Festival. Bad planning on my part I should have arrived a week earlier. Oh well. I would wait many years to see these guys in Toronto, twice. Both times at a fantastic venue: The Phoenix. Blown away both times how tight they are and rock solid vocals live, not to mention a rock show. There may be many a tree in Sherwood Forest or Suffolk, however these Englishmen are not at all to be compared to such while on stage. Especially Justin Hawkins, their frontman.
Soon after they received their due recognition in North America, thankfully. Here we are 12 years later from their initial release with their latest.
Barbarian: Cute intro, is this a concept album? This was released months ago with a neat video and their new drummer Emily who has since departed to be replaced with rock royalty Rufus Taylor; the son of Roger Taylor. Good song, good start, Justin’s high vox are still very present well done! Dan is playing some awesome guitar riffs once again.
Open Fire: Again, this song has been released quite some time ago. Many comments online compared this tune to The Cult. My friends that may like The Cult, this is a pretty standard riff if you listen to rockabilly, which I do. It is a good sound both when The Cult played it and now that The Darkness do. Fun song with fun lyrics (“give me a hug on a snakeskin rug”), expect anything less from these Englishmen?
Last Of Our Kind: Three songs in and we slow down a tad with some predominant acoustic guitar. Going very strong for me, I think this is right up there with songs on their first release. More production on this song than previous 2 which were a little more raw(kin).
Roaring Waters: A different start guitar wise from Dan, almost 70’s Aerosmith style. A good tune, the Viking concept lyrics are very clear.
Wheels of The Machine: Here we slow down quite a bit for a wonderful sampling of Justin’s vocal range. Who can sing as high as he does these days?
Mighty Wings: Oh wow, The Darkness decide to go very metal to start this song, cool! Doesn’t continue through entire song, becomes a bit prog rock sounding after the metal style guitar opening. It works, another solid song!
Mudslide: Probably the more complex of songs. This one will take awhile but as they have previously stated, it really is “growing on me”.
Sarah O Sarah: A classic sounding song from The Darkness. I wonder if this was written during Permission to Land time? The drums are phenomenal and really are the backbone of the song for me; well done Emily I hope you do not regret leaving!
Hammer & Tongs: Some distortion time on guitar. Another catchy chorus in an otherwise weaker song for me, that being said a weak song with a strong chorus from The Darkness, combined with another silly title, still is top of the heap for me.
Conquerors: We slow right down to conclude a very short release, which is ok to me. I don’t need an hour long release. I prefer strong songs rather than long songs. Frankie Poullain, the bassist, takes vox here and well done! No doubt Justin can be heard backing vox. Strong finish!
Stand out songs: I will be honest here I have listened to the release only handful of times and I have no songs that I could leave out from this list. I think this is one of the strongest start to finish releases to come out in a long time.
Blair De Abreu