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The Darkness

Permission to Land

Release Date: 09.16.03
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.


They're Really Growing On Me
by: bill aicher

Whether it's some sort of backlash against the popularity of lighter, moody rock fare from artists like Coldplay, or due to society's resurfacing need to simply RAWK out, there's no denying the fact that The Darkness's burgeoning popularity seems a bit surprising. Then again, once you've actually listened to their debut, Permission to Land, it really isn't that surprising after all.

It's true that there's a lot of 70's and 80's metal influencing The Darkness. And it's also true that lead singer, Justin Hawkins sings higher than just about any woman you'll meet (other than Mariah Carey, of course). There's definitely some AC/DC here, as the opening of their latest single "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" can attest to, and there's so much Kiss showmanship both in their music, as well as their choice of dress that Gene Simmons could only be jealous. There's also such a feeling of genuine respect for the music they're making that The Darkness do what not only seemed impossible, but also ridiculous - they make over-the-top rock unbelievably cool again.

The strongest quality The Darkness have going for them, however, is that they can write a damn good pop song. After all, that's what made bands like Kiss and Queen so tremendously huge in their day. It's one thing to indulge in the rock and roll lifestyle, but it's another thing entirely to do it with talent and general appeal.

With lyrics like "I'm being punished for all my offenses / I wanna touch you but I'm afraid of the consequences / I wanna banish you from whence you came / but you're part of me now / And I've only got myself to blame" from "Growing on Me" it's unmistakably clear that Justin Hawkins not only understands the imagery required behind this brand of rock, but also demonstrates a deeper bit of intelligence as well. This, of course, is only comlimented by his over-the-top delivery and the band's impeccable ability to totally rock out (Van Halen style, in this song's case).

As a whole, Permission to Land, is a surprisingly good listen from start to finish. However, one may be surprised by the band's tendency to slow things down a bit more than might be suggested by their ass-kicking moments, most notably in the required power-ballad "Love is Only a Feeling" and the more pop-oriented "Friday Night" (which, strangely, is my favorite moment on the album.. if for no other reason than that I really like how Hawkins says "badminton.") 23-Jan-2004 2:40 PM