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.
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 Fighters, Muse 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.
‘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)
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Matt – Muzik Speaks