#Review: The Darkness – ‘Pinewood Smile’


   

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The Darkness are an English rock band from Lowestoft, Suffolk who first came to the public’s attention in 2003, with their debut album, Permission to Land. In particular, their debut single, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, was a monster hit, reaching Number 2 in the UK Charts. Now, 14 years on, and with a string of other successful singles and albums, the band have just released their fifth studio album, Pinewood Smile.

Pinewood Smile Cover.jpg

Right from the offset of the opening track, ‘All The Pretty Girls’, you get the feeling that this album is somewhat similar in style to their debut (Permission To Land); the guitars are layered and punchy and they’ve managed to re-create the magic of what made them so popular back in 2003, but this time with the incredible drumming talents of Rufus Tiger Taylor (son of Queen‘s Roger Taylor).

Pinewood Smile is without a doubt a more grown-up and darker record from the band. It definitely still has a lot of the charm that The Darkness have become so loved for (in terms of their mash up of classic rock with obvious pop qualities) but they’re taking on more political views (‘Southern Trains’) and cynical stances and clear frustrations of the modern music industry (‘Solid Gold’). Having said that, while it may be a brand new album, it’s packed with tracks which are sure to become classics. There’s still a lot of that tongue-in-cheek lyricism but they’re weaving it in with variations to their style of rock by experimenting with subtle style differences.

It may be a brand new album but it’s packed with tracks which are sure to become classics.

There are some lovely (and at times comedic) gems throughout the album, such as Justin’s Southern American accent on ‘All The Pretty Girls’, while the verses of ‘Lay Down With Me, Barbara’ are reminiscent of smooth jazz – something you might find in some sort of chill-out lounge. Then you’ve got ‘Buccaneers Of Hispaniola’ which contains some insanely great vocal harmonies; ‘Happiness’ which is quite the stadium-filling, chant-along anthem and it all comes to a close with the beautiful and intricate, ‘Stampede Of Love’, which descends into chaos by the end, making for a fitting end to the album.

The entire record was recorded in Cornwall, with award-winning producer and engineer Adrian Bushby (who’s worked with the likes of Foo FightersMuse and My Bloody Valentine) at the helm. He’s done an excellent job of managing to capture the band’s well-known sound but still put his mark on it too – the drums are a lot more prominent than on some of their previous albums and there are lovely elaborate parts to some of the tracks which he really brings out well in the production.

I would recommend this album to anyone who’s about to embark on a long journey and needs something heavy to spice up their travels. Once you know the words, it’s definitely a record you will want to sing along to, especially in a car packed with mates. It’s a witty, punchy and an interesting direction for the band – well worth getting/listening to.

Rating
4


‘Pinewood Smile’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pinewood-smile-deluxe/id1259927517


‘Pinewood Smile’ on Spotify

Solid Gold (Official Video)

Southern Trains (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the band’s latest album! What are your thoughts on it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or let us know via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#ThrowbackThursday / #ThrowbackThreesday: Deepest Blue


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Deepest Blue were an electronic music duo, comprised of Matt Schwartz and Joel Edwards, who were active from 2002-2005.

Their first single, the self-titled ‘Deepest Blue’, was released in 2003. The song was originally recorded as a different version, but did not gain any interest, but when it was re-recorded and released, it reached Number 7 in the UK charts. It was due to the song’s progressive house feel that the song gained interest, as the genre was popular at the time.

Deepest Blue – ‘Deepest Blue’


In February 2004, the pair released their second single, ‘Give It Away’. The song is a catchy, deep house song, which provided the duo with another Top 10 hit, reaching Number 9 in the UK Charts, and it’s probably my favourite song they’ve released.


Deepest Blue – ‘Give It Away’


Although their fourth single, ‘Shooting Star’, failed to reach the UK Top 40, it’s a great song due to the fantastic string arrangement; it’s powerful and instantly recognisable.

Released in August 2004, it was the fourth single taken from their debut album, Late September, but it was prominent for its use on Sky Sports News and Soccer Saturday from 2004 to 2007. It’s still used by Sky Sports as incidental music during UK football matches.

This song is epic as it showed just how diverse this duo were and it’s such a shame that they are no longer about – maybe a reunion should be put on the cards!


Deepest Blue – ‘Shooting Star’


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#MentalMonday: Placebo – ‘Second Sight’


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Placebo are most notable for being a three-piece band and at the time of recording this song, consisted of members Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Hewitt. The band formed in London and are an alternative rock group.

This track was taken from their 2003 album, Sleeping With Ghosts and it’s so uptempo, in-your-face and fantastic that it makes for the perfect #MentalMonday track! I can tell you now that I’ll be rocking out to this song in my car, on the way to work today!

Enjoy Speakerz!

So this week, we’re celebrating our 200th post, on Thursday, and to make it a special week, we’re bringing you all-new themes, just for the week! Today is #MentalMonday – please leave your song choice in a comment below or use the hashtag on our Twitter/Facebook accounts 🙂

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‘Second Sight’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/second-sight/id961066938?i=961066954


#ThrowbackThursday: Jaimeson – ‘Complete’

Jaimeson Banner

Jaimeson, whose real name is Jamie Williams, saw success back in 2003 and 2004, with a number of garage and drum & bass inspired hits.

His debut single reached Number 4 in the UK charts, as did this song, ‘Complete’, which was his follow-up release. The song features vocals by Xara. This song is interesting as it has the relatively simple, melodic verses before bursting into life with the drum & bass style chorus.

I love this song as it reminds me of someone special every time I hear it.

Have you heard this song before? Do you remember it? What’s your #ThrowbackThursday song of choice this week? Leave it in a comment below.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Complete’ is available on iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/complete/id316905769?i=316905988