The boys from Lowestoft, UK, are back and basically, The Darkness have continued where they left off on Pinewood Smile, albeit with a few more bells and whistles added.
Whilst Easter Is Cancelled is billed as the band’s first concept album, I’ll be buggered if I could find the tale within which, I’m told, is based on the role of rockers in modern society.
To me, it is ‘just’ another fine collection of killer riffs, great solos, and clever, humorous lyrics. I would expect nothing less from this band who have wowed me ever since their debut, Permission To Land, way back in 2003.
Easter is Cancelled
There has always been an inner confidence and belief in what The Darkness are all about and this album is no different. They rarely give a fuck about what people think of them. They know there’s a loyal fanbase out there fully invested in their art. While they are producing quality like this the base is only going to strengthen.
If we’re sticking to the concept theme, then “Rock ‘n’ Roll Deserves To Die” is the opening salvo where rock’s place in the world is doubted. Apart from that, it’s a belting start. A quiet contemplative beginning before Justin Hawkins blows it apart with his falsetto vocals, breaking windows at a hundred yards. Also included is a fast metal guitar-fest, ripping riffs and a gentle “Happy Trails” closing. Strap yourselves in for a classic rock journey.
“How Can I Lose Your Love” is your classic Darkness fayre. Catchy as anything with melody in abundance, this mid-tempo effort could sit nicely on any given album.
It’s more of the same with “Live Til I Die” and rousing riffs make an already good song even better. This track feels more like a mini Hawkins biography with the way he tells the story in his own inimitable way.
Passion is the order of the day on “Heart Explodes”, an almost dreamy track reminiscent of “Love is Only a Feeling” from the classic debut album.
“Deck Chair” signifies the first departure from convention, with no riffage or extravagant vocals anywhere in sight. It reminded me of Freddie Mercury’s more introvert times and is a lovely, gentle piece.
Justin’s vocals are at their ball-squeezing best on the title track, backed up by some ripping riffs in a typical Darkness style. The track rattles on apace but to where I’m not so sure. It’s still a fun ride though.
“Heavy Metal Lover” sees The Darkness in fine funny form but is also a toe-tapping winner.
The highlight of the album comes in the form of a lovely ballad, “In Another Life”. No vocal gymnastics, just straight up soft rock. Twin rhythm guitars add a beautiful depth to proceedings and a Boston-esque solo brings this song to life.
There’s a sneering, punky edge to “Choke On It”, which is clearly far from a love song. Not typical Darkness musically, but lyrically it’s up there. There’s also a nice piss-take of the Gallagher brothers in there too.
To bring Easter is Cancelled to a close is “We Are The Guitar Men”, and to tidy things up it acclaims the joys of playing rock ‘n’ roll, and all is well in the world. It’s a nice track to end on too, with plenty of layers to enjoy, lyrics to unravel and melody to dwell upon.
Rock is not dead!
Overall, this is a quality offering from UK rock’s oft-forgotten men. It’s got everything you know and love about the band. From huge riffs to humorous lyrics, screaming solos to tender licks. Get your mitts on it and add it to your rock collection, it won’t disappoint.