The Darkness shine joyous light on rock 'n' roll

For a band called The Darkness, the English quartet bring a surprising amount of light to the world of rock 'n' roll with their brand of joyous, throwback glam rock.

For their sixth studio album, the group - best known for 2003's smash hit I Believe In A Thing Called Love - continue to travel back in time with their take on the bombastic, melodramatic characteristics of the 1970s British rock scene.

While several songs sound like they belong in a heavy metal musical of sorts, this is still pure rock 'n' roll, comprising strong melodies, blistering guitar solos and no Auto-Tune.

There are the stadium fillers - such as opening track Rock And Roll Deserves To Die, complete with chugging guitars and frontman Justin Hawkins' impeccable falsetto.

Then, there are the classic power ballads - such as Heart Explodes, with its soaring chorus ("Take me to the open road, run until my heart explodes/Take me to the open road or give me back the love I'm owed"), in which Hawkins sings of being caught in limbo between apathy and wanting to change.

In true The Darkness style, there is the tongue-in-cheek Heavy Metal Lover, about a lover who is so metal, even her pyjamas are black and she terrifies the neighbours.

Sure, there are the average, filler tracks such as Live 'Til I Die, an autobiographical tale of Hawkins' rise to rock stardom, with paint-by-numbers melodies and chord progressions.



    The Darkness

    Canary Dwarf

    4 Stars

But We Are The Guitar Man, with its synthesizers and multi-part harmonies, is joyful in its simplicity and chants of "long live rock 'n' roll" - which seems the entire point of the album; a celebration of rock music.

While it does not quite have the X-factor of their 2003 debut album Permission To Land, Easter Is Cancelled proves The Darkness are still utterly charming.

They make rock fun again.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2019, with the headline 'The Darkness shine joyous light on rock 'n' roll'. Print Edition | Subscribe