Once you get past Justin Hawkins’ love it-or-hate it falsetto, The Darkness is a fierce, rockin’ band that wears its influences proudly. Case in point: “Welcome to Tae Glasgae” finds Justin and his brother, Dan, spewing riffs and solos over incendiary anthems, à la Queen, AC/DC, Meatloaf, and the Sex Pistols. And they do it incredibly well.
Part of an overall concept about a sex robot (a perfectly campy Darkness topic), “It’s Love, Jim” cooks, thanks to chords draped with 4×12 crunch. “Motorheart” borrows the guitar theme from Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy,” pumping it up with chunky slide. Nor do The Darkness fear a pop melody, as in “Jussy’s Girl” – imagine here if Rick Springfield joined Def Leppard.
“Sticky Situations” launches with humongous axe tones, mixed with acoustic guitars and Queen-infused harmonies; you’d be hard-pressed to find better-recorded power chords. For lead thrills, “Nobody Can See Me Cry” has a fretburning solo that doesn’t hide its Brian May pedigree.
Again, take Justin’s Rocky Horror Picture Show vocals with a grain of salt; they’re part of the act. Guitar-wise, the Hawkins brothers rock as hard as anyone, and there are a million killer riffs on Motorheart.
This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.