The Darkness - Pinewood Smile
Ever since they burst onto the English rock scene back in 2003 with their brand of scuzzed up, sexed up rock n' roll The Darkness have had a lot to live up to. In the intervening years the band have, by their own admissions crashed and burned. Band members leaving, overdoses and in fighting plagued them to a point where they were no longer the biggest thing since sliced bread and were, in fact, stale.
After a few false starts, the band are now on a rich seam of form, having released albums regularly over the last few years and progressively regained the form they had back in 2003 on their debut Permission To Land. So here we are in 2017, nearly 15 years have passed and The Darkness are back with Pinewoood Smile, their fifth album.
The overall feel is just like the band themselves, quintessentially English. From the production to the tales of English life ('Southern Trains') the album is a return to what The Darkness do best. No longer trying to top their best material, the pressure is off and the band are clearly having fun, and the album reflects this with a humorous loose feel throughout.
Stand out track 'Japanese Prisoner Of Love' is a fully clenched fist to the face that delivers alongside the AC/DC stomp of 'Solid Gold' and a smattering of international flavour in the 'Buccaneers of Hispaniola'. Overall this is a grandiose return to form, which will hopefully see The Darkness back in their rightful place on the world's stage.