As their website URL proclaims, The Darkness rock! One wouldnít think that there would be much market in 2003 for a band that sounds like AC/DC meets Def Leppard meets Van Halen while being fronted by Freddie Mercury, but after seeing this band live and hearing their songs, you realize itís not just an act: these boys can pen a tune. After playing a decent set at South By Southwest in 2002, the quartet from Lowestoft, East Anglia, returned in 2003 to rock the socks off the industry heads, leaving them the talk of Austin. A string of charting UK singles led up to their last single, ìGrowing On Me,î the perfect rock anthem, entering the charts at #11. Frontman Justin Hawkins has the quintessential metaller yelp down to a science, as his voice hits notes in the Serious Testicular Damage range, but he can belt out the lower end of his bandís catchy songs, as well, as his brother Dan does his best Eddie Van Halen impersonations. ìTake Your Hands Of My Woman,î is Urge Overkillís ìSister Havanaî run through a time machine, while album opener ìBlack Shuckî reminds one of ìDirty Deedsî meets ìAction, Not Wordsî by Def Lep. ìGrowing On Me,î as mentioned before, is a bonafide hit, as is ìI Believe In A Thing Called Love.î In a time when most rock acts are nu-metal scourge, The Darkness are an arena rock act for the new millennium, putting the fun back in rock and perhaps the tongue back in cheek. It doesnít matter. All that matters is that The Darkness rock. Lots. Need proof? The Darkness were at Number Two in the UK album chart the week of release.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN