The Darkness - Permission To Land
Ah, that sweet taste of musical irony, as record companies realise that even the ten-year-old kids have had enough of manufactured karaoke pop and instead desire "real" music with "real band instrumentation". Also, by referencing a genre more than fifteen years old, their parents will love it too, causing the style to soar to the heights of being the most in-vogue musical brand. Cynicism in music is dead, or at least has become futile, as The Darkness apparently give us what we want and also dispense with all the rubbish.
These Lowestoft boys have quickly risen to become the number one darlings of every type of press, be it the NME, The Sun, Heat and Mojo, and although pop has eaten itself before, surely by now it's sick of its own taste.
There's nothing wrong with The Darkness on the face of it. Sure, we can handle lead singer Justin Hawkins being as ugly as Freddie Mercury whilst aspiring to hit the same high octave notes, and yes, we too can handle the fact that he may as well be dressing up as Jimmy Page on Stars In Their Eyes; hell, we can even handle the idea that Permission To Land, their debut album, sounds nothing more than a short anthology of eighties' Ford car commercials, but when it comes to proclaiming the band as the future of music...well, future only if your favourite mode of transportation is a flying DeLorean.
There are some brilliantly catchy moments on Permission To Land, including the number two smash I Believe In A Thing Called Love which combines all the operatics of Bohemian Rhapsody with all the formulaic rock of (Everything We Do Is) Driven By You, and Growing On Me, which already stinks of suited-fortysomethings playing air guitar at Christmas parties.
Granted, it's funny to listen to Get Your Hands Off My Woman and hear Hawkins court controversy by using the 'c' word and 'Motherfucker', but please don't be fooled, The Darkness are a one trick pony drenched in faux sincerity. Surely there next album can only be a rehash of the first? Mind you, this worked incredibly well for The Strokes when you consider the gushes of critical praise they received.
In a world where Will Young is considered to be a survivor because he tops the charts two years after his debut single, it's easy to assume The Darkness are the latest musical novelty, and you'd be right. They are nothing more than this year's Toploader, which means that by next year you won't be able to give their album away, nor hide your embarrassment of owning it. Hawkins will reap the financial rewards for a while, and then retire nicely off writing jingles, but The Darkness are finished almost just as they started.
Fun? Yes. Listenable? Certainly. Good? Definitely not. It's admirable to see bands like The Darkness take on excuse-for-bands like Busted and Westlife, but let's get a sense of proportion when throwing out adjectives, please! All we need now is The Best Power Ballads In The World…Ever! to be advertised on TV now that they've become the hip new sound. What do you mean it already has been?