Turn it up to 11...
From the second the ‘stack of Marshalls’ riff on ‘Black Shuck’ rips the album into life, the message is clear – [a]The Darkness[/a] are completely, ridiculously R-O-C-K.
[a]Guns n’ Roses[/a], AC/DC, Queen, Whitesnake – every leopard-skin pantomime shrieker that ever put their foot on a monitor can take some credit for this album. Essentially, it’s a tribute to all the dodgy managers, sated groupies and coke-toting dwarves that ever helped to prop up the myth. You can hear how much [a]The Darkness[/a] love it too – from the swaggering metal glee of ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ to the lachrymose stadium ballad that is ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’, their nonsensical enthusiasm is completely infectious.
Many people are regarding the whole thing as a colossal joke, but the debate about whether [a]The Darkness[/a] are some sort of freak accident or a cynical attempt to steal every worthy riff from metal’s thunderous vaults is pretty immaterial. If so many of metal’s pioneers hadn’t died unseemly deaths, then [a]The Darkness[/a] wouldn’t exist, but they did – so someone had to resurrect the spirit of the 12-year-old Def Leppard fan and pump him back into hormonal life. The irony being that the same people who are slagging them off for their unashamed plundering would be paying through the nose for customised T-shirts with their logo on if they’d made this record 20 years ago.
And, anyway, even if it is a calculated exercise, it doesn’t sound like one – the old-timey Alabama twanging on ‘Givin’ Up’ is just as much fun as anything ZZ Top ever did. If you’ve ever played air guitar in front of a mirror with a tennis racket, sang Kiss’ ‘Crazy Crazy Nights’ at the top of your lungs – and enjoyed it – or secretly admired the dress sense of Steven Tyler, then this will definitely push your buttons. It’s bovine, utterly backward-looking and will probably be nothing more than an amusing footnote in musical history, but so what? Just because it’s essentially heavy-metal karaoke, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it. Play [a]The Darkness[/a] on 11.