- 03 Oct 19
One might posit that the first of our ancient ancestors who overcame their fear, approached the burning bush and held a flaming ember up to their tribe, declaring “Ugh, UUUGGHH, Ugh!” (Rough translation: “Behold, I have tamed the hot light!”), proceeded to get all the best cuts of sabre tooth meat and have sex with everyone. In many ways, The Darkness are like that, proudly brandishing la flame du rock that so many of their contemporaries are scared to look at, never mind grasp.
And brandish it they do, like a Snortian pork sword of yore. The title track – Jesus gives the world the fingers for what it has become – and ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ (“You’re so metal, I’m afraid you’ll rust, but you fear nothing, in Satan you trust!”) are as heavy if not heavier than anything The Holy ‘Ness have recorded before. ‘Heart Explodes’ and ‘Choke On It’ are two sides of a lover’s doubloon: one bemoans a relationship in tatters, the other screams “fuck you! That didn’t hurt!” In fact, the lyrics of ‘Explodes’ only go to prove that Justin Hawkins is both (sex) God and man, for it documents, with a poet’s eye worthy of the Bard himself, his dashing against the vicissitudinous rocks of life. And you! You thought the power ballad achieved perfection around 1987, you tin-eared buffoon!
‘In Another Life’ and ‘How Can I Lose Your Love’ are the kind of pop-metal odes to joy that Jon Bon Jovi would shoot his hairdresser for, and ‘Live ‘Til I Die’ has an almost Springsteenian message of diem carpe-ing set against the sound of Lindsey Buckingham-era Fleetwood Mac with a firecracker up its arse, but what, you might well ask, the hell is the story with the jazz nonsense of ‘Deck Chair’? First of all, watch your mouth. Never, ever question the motives – or the motifs - of The Darkness. Secondly, if you’re just too square to get it, consider how it makes the surrounding material shine even brighter.
‘Rock And Roll Deserves To Die’ the opening track spits, but, by the end of this bildungsroman des felsens, the borderline-bucolic ‘We Are The Guitar Men’ has brought things full circle - and we are talking here of a circularity that makes Kepler 11145123 look like something you drew with your left hand after eight vodkas. They say there is no such thing as perfection, but surely this closing paean to the six-stringed dream machines, sporting the immortal, circuit-completing cry of “Long Live Rock N’ Roll!”, comes within a hair’s breadth. And yes, I am thinking of the contents of Lady Caroline Lamb’s letters to Lord Byron, for that is the way I roll!
One stray note of this chef-d'œuvre, heard by chance, emanating from a passing équipage, would result in Richard Dawkins himself falling to his knees and casting off his crazy ‘scientific’ claptrap. “I was so wrong!” he would scream as he raised four devil-horn shaped digits skyward in worship of these deities of rock. In these troubled times of doubt, let us all remove our togs of confusion and bathe – nakedly – in the light of The Darkness.