The Darkness are a retro enigma, a classic rock anomaly, stuck somewhere between Wolfmother and Spinal Tap, that leaves listeners either highly addicted or harmlessly aloof. The band’s discography is, by now, half cocaine-fueled Zeppelin on acid, half rough-and-tumble rockers with something to prove and everything to gain. Their musical evolution hits home on Last Of Our Kind, wherein the Hawkins brothers and co. have finally made a brilliant memory to savor by doing what so many other acts in their “genre” fail to do: dispense with pretense.
No one should fault The Darkness for being what it is, because the band is spectacular in both scale and volume, facets where pure rock resides. There are helpings of AC/DC swagger (“Open Fire”, “Mudslide”), arena-ready anthems (“Mighty Wings”, “Roaring Waters”), some Viking metal for flavor (“Barbarian”), and what can only be considered a tinge of Rolling Stones (“Wheels Of The Machine”, “Hammer & Tongs”). While Last of Our Kind cannot possibly trump the phenomenal color or MTV presence of Permission To Land, this record makes Hot Cakes seem like the stepping stone it ought to have been, and the entirety of sophomore quandary One Way Ticket… a worse penis joke than “Every Inch of You”.
The Darkness recently changed drummers twice within the span of a year, and prior to that, nearly permanently lost its frontman to drugs and alcohol. Thankfully, luck turned around to bring us a legitimate comeback in 2015. Soon to be headlining South Wales’ Planet Rockstock in December, with the son of Queen’s own drummer in tow, this album is the conquering victory of guitar over guilt. Last of Our Kind is nothing groundbreaking, but it shakes the Earth with pumping fervor; it’s not a mindfuck, it’s a facemelt.
Essential Tracks: “Open Fire”, “Barbarian”, and “Hammer & Tongs”