The Darkness: Last of Our Kind

The Darkness Last of Our Kind.jpg

Submitted by Lenny Stoute

It was easy to make fun of The Darkness when they debuted in 2003, with Justin Hawkins' over the top semi-operatic vocals drawing all kinds of outlandish comparisons, one fave being 'John Cleese doing Freddy Mercury ' and 'the reincarnation of Spinal Tap.'  The chuckles died down when Permission to Land, went straight up to number two in the UK charts upon its release on 7 July 2003, before going to number one and staying there for four weeks, eventually going on to sell 1.5 million copies in the UK. What followed was the classic rock'n'roll path to fame and then down the other side, with albums two and three not hitting with as much impact, and Justin Hawkins departure for a stint in rehab after which he left the band.

That was then and this is 2015 and even though they recently went through three drummers in a year, Last of Our Kind brims with the swagger, confidence and clever songwriting which marked their early music. The Darkness were never shy about wearing their influences on their sleeves so consequently you get yer AC/DC power riffage, (“Open Fire”, “Mudslide”), Queen-ly anthems (“Mighty Wings”, “Roaring Waters”), some Metallica flavor (“Barbarian”), some woozy Stones-y blues rock (“Wheels Of The Machine”, “Hammer & Tongs”) and Aerosmith would be proud to call the stomping 'Mudslide' their own.

From the opening notes of the first track, “Barbarian,” what's here is everything you could want from a Darkness album. On “Open Fire,” the band looks to the 80s and The Cult for its guitar line while the title track, with its layers of gorgeous acoustic guitar, signature high-end vocals and nakedly autobiographical lyrics. “We are survivors, the ones left behind / Defenders of the legacy, the last of our kind,” brings to mind Tom Petty's 'I Won't Back Down'.

The band sounds at the top of its game and there are many passages here which remind that Justin Hawkins remains one of the best lead guitar players of the ’00s. The production by brother  Dan Hawkins, is bright, warm and powerful.

Turn out the lights, The Darkness is back.