The Darkness – Pinewood Smile
The Darkness have never been a band that I really paid much attention to or gave a chance. I had this girlfriend a long time ago that had pretty horrible taste in music and she absolutely loved The Darkness. She played their CD non-stop when it first came out. I was always joking with her saying stuff like, “this sounds like Boston, why don’t you just listen to Boston? Who would even want to listen to Boston?” Obviously, that relationship didn’t end up working out.
Most folks only know The Darkness from their excruciatingly annoying song, “I Believe In a Thing Called Love,” and that’s it. The Darkness are judged by that song and that song alone by many. But there’s a lot more to The Darkness beyond that really corny song. If you give The Darkness a chance, they have their moments, lots of moments, really good moments in fact, and this new album, Pinewood Smile, well, it kicks a whole lot of ass actually.
It’s so refreshing to listen to a record in 2017 where majority of the production is a solid, real-sounding rock ‘n’ roll record. The drums aren’t huge by any means, but they’re not fake at all either. Simply put, the drums sound good, the way a real drum kit is supposed to sound. It also helps to have a good drummer playing as well and The Darkness now have one – Rufus Tiger Taylor, the son of legendary Queen drummer Roger Taylor. The guitars and bass sound real too, like they’re actually coming out of real amplifiers versus being recorded directly into some kind of slick digital program, something a lot of artists are doing nowadays. Sure, the guitars (courtesy Dan Hawkins) are overdubbed and stacked like hell, but they come out sounding gritty, yet polished at the same time. It’s beautiful and it’s some of the best guitar work that you’re going to hear on a mainstream record these days. Vocalist Justin Hawkins, although openly cheese-stick and cheeky at times, is a true virtuoso and shines on every track of Pinewood Smile – he’s got pipes and talent to spare.
The songwriting is great. The Darkness not only write musically sound songs that are rockin’ and catchy, they’re also funny too. Humor is an extremely difficult task to pull off, especially in music, that’s why there’s so few fun/funny bands out there. But it’s not cool to be in a fun/funny band. You’re not going to be lauded by the pretentious know-nothing critics if you’re a fun/funny band. But I don’t think The Darkness give a shit about that with lyrics like “and we’re never gonna stop shitting out solid gold,” but thankfully a record label, this time an independent one, does.
On Pinewood Smile The Darkness provide a rockin’, cheeky, fun time. Is it perfect or gutbusting hilarious all the way through? Nope. But it’s fun. Remember fun? Give yourself permission to have some fun.