Review by Shayne McGowan
The Darkness - Easter is Cancelled
I love The Darkness. I just think they are an amazingly fun band. There are elements in their music that I would not usually enjoy, but there’s something in the execution
that makes everything this band does, appeal to me on a massive scale. Sure, not every album is “all killer”, but when they are on point, the results are tremendous.
In saying that, this latest album, is as close to perfect as the band has gotten since their debut, Permission to Land. Every track here, has its place, and works extremely well - even when it’s not necessarily “a killer track”.
Opening with Rock and Roll Deserves to Die, the album gives us an anthem straight up. Beginning with gentle strumming, and Justin Hawkins trademark voice, the track becomes a massive rock epic in its choruses, before settling back down to its gentle nature for the second verse, and ultimately building towards a blistering climax. It’s an ironic title for a band that hangs its hat on rock n roll, but that’s the key to the song - and The Darkness are one of current rocks finest acts.
How Can I Lose Your Love enters ballad territory, but it’s a Darkness ballad in the vein of Love is Only a Feeling, so it’s big and bold and uplifting - never coming across as soppy. I have spent the better part of two weeks obsessing over this album, and how great it is from start to finish. I just secured tickets to see them live in March, and I can’t wait to hear some of these tracks in the live setting.
Live ‘Til I Die is a bit of a biographical song looking at Justin Hawkins beginnings as an awkward and unpopular rocker, and serves as a pretty good sequel of sorts to Every Inch of You from the Hot Cakes album.
Heart Explodes is somewhat of an anti-ballad, and has the potential to catapult the already hugely popular band, into an entirely new level of success. This song has a huge sound, and coupled with the anthemic chorus, it’s an absolute winner, and surefire radio hit.
I’m not spending a lot of time talking about the musical elements on the individual tracks, simply because the guitar work right throughout the album is superb, likewise for the drumming of Rufus Taylor - and Justin Hawkins is singing possibly better than ever. This is one hundred percent, the best Darkness album since their debut.
Deck Chair is a tongue in cheek track about Hawkins deck chair being blown off a boat, and him having nothing to sit on. It’s a gentle track, definitely a showcase of the superb vocals - bringing Freddie Mercury to mind. It’s short and funny, and it shouldn’t be good, but it’s fucking great!
Title track, Easter is Cancelled, brings back the riffs, and offers up some of the very high range vocals that Hawkins is known for. This is another epic anthem, and will surely be a crowd pleaser with its fast riffing and blistering guitar solo.
Heavy Metal Lover is another fun song - as it takes a look at being in a relationship with an obsessed heavy metal fan. Such lines as “your so metal I’m afraid you’ll rust” and “make sweet love to Hammer Smashed Face” are great for a giggle. Plus the band deliver some crushing riffs here - dipping a toe into the metal pond themselves. It’s great!
In Another Life sees the band re-enter ballad territory - they do it so well though, while Choke On It is my absolute favourite of the album. There’s a groove here that is hard to ignore, and the chorus is magnificent.
Ending with We Are the Guitar Men is a great touch. Here we hear Hawkins lament on how he couldn’t live without his guitar. There are fantastic vocal harmonies used here to great effect, and the fact that the line “long live rock n roll” is used multiple times in the closing number flips the script from the opening salvo of “Rock N Roll Deserves to Die” nicely.
This is a wonderfully uplifting album, and everything that rock music should be. As we approach the end of the year, I know full well that Easter is Cancelled will have its place on my top 10 list.