This Sunday, November 1st, The Darkness will finally bring their ritzy brand of British hard rock to Boston, Massachusetts. And it’s about time; they’ve already destroyed Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and other major cities across the U.S. But, according to their website, we have the honor of being the last date on their North American tour! Which means they’ll probably raise a little extra hell when they kick our asses and compel us to bang our heads and throw up metal horns. It will be an evil good time for sure.
Seriously though, The Darkness titled their new album The Last of Our Kind and it’s fitting because, well, there’s nobody out there quite like them. To that end, they could have just as easily called the album The First of Our Kind. Although maybe that wouldn’t be as fitting because there are bands whose footsteps they are following in. Queen, for example, singer Justin Hawkins having the greatest falsetto since the late Freddie Mercury. And there are certainly shades of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler in his voice. Mick Jagger, too. But Justin takes bits from many great classic rock singers, puts them in a blender with lots of hot sauce and vodka, then drinks it all up in one gulp and gets revved up, goes out on stage, and goes berserk, and turns audiences insane with his remarkable stage presence. The rest of the band aren’t bad either!
Whether you’ve been a die-hard fan since they took the world by storm with “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” or have simply enjoyed their songs on satellite radio from time to time, you must see them in concert to fully appreciate their dedication to the craft of FUN, kick ass rock ‘n’ roll. Don’t miss them when they hit The House of Blues this Sunday. Doors: 7:00, show: 8:00.
Opening for The Darkness will be These Raven Skies http://www.theseravenskies.com/#home
Check out my review of The Last of Our Kind for a serious look at the band: http://www.loveispop.com/reviews/albumoftheday-review-the-darkness-last-of-our-kind/
And for an amusing look at the band, check out this bio written by Justin Hawkins himself:
The Darkness, multi award winning multi-million selling megaband formed in 2000 by The Brothers Hawkins, Frankie Poullain and (now departed) Ed Graham, have had good years and bad. And some years where they didn’t actually do anything. This year will be a good’ un, because The Darkness, are back with their brand new fourth album. ‘Last of Our Kind’ will be released in June 2015, in partnership with Kobalt Label Services.
Rewind to December 2013. After completing a grueling world tour to promote third album Hot Cakes, The Darkness delighted and beguiled the Classic Rock awards by accepting the prestigious Showman prize.
Job done – time to stop for a moment and prepare to pen a new set of hard rock anthems to satiate the baying hordes…
January came and went. The band nestled in their respective partners’ bosoms and waited for the touring scars to fade… for the hunger to return. During a mountain-top meditation mini-break, Bass Manipulator Frankie Poullain was visited by a vision. Perhaps The Darkness should compose album IV somewhere… nice?
As luck would have it, Frankie has a brother, Wise Tim. Wise Tim spoke fondly and often of a magical place somewhere beyond the shores of Ireland, surrounded by water. Its name was Valentia Island. A plan was falling into place. Ferry tickets were booked and haversacks stuffed with rock ideas and sandwiches. The craggy paradise that is Valentia Island, with its unique microclimate and vegan-friendly crêpery, had a certain kinda magic. The Darkness were smitten and work commenced.
Songs came. Riffs grew. Creative juices flowed, and brother Tim helped keep bodies and souls together.
But even in the silver lining of Valentia, a dark cloud was brewing. Blinded by the magic and excitement of that glorious summer, The Darkness had failed to recognise a dissatisfaction gnawing inside drummer Ed Graham. There was a distance in his eyes, a brow oft furrowed, an unspoken longing to be elsewhere…
After a brief period of confusion and sadness the unavoidable change was implemented. Emily Dolan Davies, a drummer of unrivalled talent, was appointed for the recording – just in time for preproduction rehearsals. With defacto band leader Dan Hawkins at the controls, relishing his new role of guitarist-producer, recording commenced.
Then the recording stopped and the mixing began.
Frankie, Justin and Emily downed tools and retreated to umpire charity tennis matches, give up smoking and deliver percussion masterclasses, respectively.
The Druidical magic of Valentia Island flowed through the mixing process, and as the last chords echoed across the Celtic valleys, Dan rose up and declared that the album was complete.
The album opens with Barbarian. Barbarian features not one but two dramatic molonologues, a guitar solo that has been declared ‘irresponsible’, a riff that weakens lady-knees and a chorus that makes grown men shit directly into their pants. The lyrics describe the Viking invasion of East Anglia which culminated in the decapitation of Edmund the Martyr. So yeah, classic Darkness.
Open Fire sounds like The Darkness if The Darkness were offered a million pounds to come up with the best song ever in 10 minutes and then 10 minutes later The Darkness are all just driving around in Ferraris.
Last of Our Kind is technically the title track, but not really; the album’s working title was ‘Cliffhanger’. This song has been described as ‘part Van Halen, part Waterboys, ALL The Darkness’. It features a record-smashing choir of several thousand Darkness enthusiasts (The Darkness Army) who each contributed their individual performances using the Internet service.
Roaring Waters is another of the album’s ‘invasion songs’, and describes the Sack of Baltimore; a Moorish invasion of Western Ireland. This song features a Dan Hawkins riff that’s so massive, time slows down when you stand next to it.
Wheels of the Machine closes side one. It’s the cuddle after the copulation, the fondle after the fornication. It’s about love and the music trade. It’s very personal. That’s all we know.
Mighty Wings opens side 2. It is an elegantly terrifying mindscramble. It taps into the feelings and tones of a Giorgio Moroder soundtrack to a film in which Kate Bush and Pantera go on a bludgeoning spree, featuring an unlikely Kenny Loggins cameo (in a good way).
Mudslide. Imagine if the Earth’s tectonic plates shifted so dramatically that America’s southern states ended up in Yorkshire. That sound you just imagined… that’s a fookin’ Mudslide.
Sarah O’Sarah is a song of great beauty and finesse. If cheerful Welsh Goon Sir Harry Secombe was somehow resurrected and wanted a new theme tune for Highway, he would need look no further.
Hammer & Tongs is the most ‘live’ that The Darkness have ever sounded on record. Which is very ‘live’ indeed. It speaks of a fire in the city. It’s out of control.
Conquerors is the album closer. It’s a powerful ballad of great brooding and triumph. The lead vocal was sung by Frankie Poullain, which adds to the Celtic flavour of the album as a whole and opens the door to a new era of experimentation for The Darkness. Conquerors is sure to become a live favourite.
Last of Our Kind is a collection of 10 magnificent songs that The Darkness are extremely proud of. It is the best rock album you will hear this year. It is the best rock album you will hear until next time The Darkness makes an album. I should know. I’m the singer.