The Darkness – Easter Is Cancelled
Released: October 4th, 2019
Justin Hawkins | Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Dan Hawkins | Guitar
Frankie Poullain | Bass
Rufus Tiger Taylor | Drums
Well it’s come to that time of the evening for something a little bit different, Ladies and Gentlemen – The Darkness
If Freddie Mercury and Rob Halford got married and had a child, he would surely be Justin Hawkins. More metal than Freddie, a dash more opera than Halford and enough charisma for them both, Hawkins is the quintessential rock ‘n roll frontman. Just on a side note, if Halford and Mercury had married, imagine the wedding! An extravagant event – leather and studs combined with feather boas and red suspenders, flamingos on motorbikes roaring down the Champs-Elusees all to a soundtrack from the gods themselves.
But I digress… Where was I?
Oh yes, monsieur Hawkins… With a style that time forgot and infinite swagger the lovely lad from Lowestoft has shimmied into 2019 bringing Dan, Frankie and Rufus with him. The two years since 2017’s Pinewood Smile has felt like an eternity, but patience is a virtue etc. The wait is over, The Darkness are back and they’ve fucking cancelled Easter. ‘Tis a crappy holiday anyway – too much chocolate and not enough presents.
We may not have Easter, but we do have 14 tracks of undeniable Darkness, with a little bit extra. The album kicks off with a nice acoustic intro and the news that ‘Rock and Roll Deserves to Die’, not really what I was hoping for to be perfectly honest. I was hoping for “we’re here to rock your fucking socks off!” The acoustic intro builds up to an inevitable scream and with that, the electricity and distortion are turned up to 11, now we’re rocking! There are few in the world who have a falsetto comparable to Justin Hawkins, when the front-man hits that awe-inspiring note you know The Darkness are back. By God are they back! If this is the song to kill rock ‘n roll its death will be a beautiful combination of stratospheric vocals, thundering drums and distorted guitars. But we know The Darkness have tongue firmly planted in cheek and they don’t really think rock deserves to die – or do they?
As I mentioned although this album is undeniably The Darkness the lads have added something extra. This is more than the usual balls-to-the-wall slightly tongue in cheek glam rock we know and love. On this outing, they have gone, dare I say it, eclectic. Mixed in with rockers like the opening and title tracks we have ballads ‘How Can I Lose Your Love’ and ‘Heart Explodes’. Personally, I love a good power ballad, done well they can be an album highlight and these two don’t disappoint. Just before the midway point is the curious ‘Deck Chair’, at just two minutes it’s over almost as soon as it begins. A strange almost theatrical track that wouldn’t be out of place on Queen’s A Night At The Opera, hardly surprising given drummer Rufus Tiger Taylor is the son of the legendary Roger Taylor. If Taylor’s heritage was an influence it’s interesting as there are no drums on the track, I guess it’s just another riddle wrapped in spandex. So très charmant my dear…
That’s just what this album is, a riddle wrapped in skin tight butt-hugging spandex. Curious theatre and galloping guitars give way to an adolescent journey of life, love and long hair. The 14 year old in any hard rock fan can appreciate the sentiment of ‘Live ‘Til I Die’. The song wrenched me back (more than) a few years to a time when no one understood me, hair had to be long, music was the most important thing in life and above all – fuck the haters.
This is a cliché, but this album really does have something for everyone. An eclectic mix of rock, punk, pop and even a whimsical history lesson. Easter Is Cancelled maybe my favourite release this year and with the announcement the band will play the full album on the upcoming tour I can’t wait to hear it live. If you haven’t already, 2019 is the year to embrace The Darkness because “… this stuff is fucking rocket fuel”
The Darkness – Easter Is Cancelled tracklisting:
- Rock and Roll Deserves to Die
- How Can I Lose Your Love
- Live ‘Til I Die
- Heart Explodes
- Deck Chair
- Easter is Cancelled
- Heavy Metal Lover
- In Another Life
- Choke on it
- We Are the Guitar Men
- Different Eyes
- Confirmation Bias
- Sutton Hoo
Revisit our interview with Frankie Poullain talking all things Easter Is Cancelled here