The Darkness – “Easter Is Cancelled”
Label: Cooking Vinyl Limited
Review: Dawn Osborne
Well from the advance publicity for the album and the parody of the crucifixion artwork the band knew this would be a controversial album. Never before have I had people literally screaming at me on social media for liking an album and, in fact, I love it. In the same way that Zeppelin and Queen were lambasted for breaking the mould this album is the same, and I bet my hat that it will similarly be seen as genius in the future. Yes, when you hear some things for the first time you think, really? But you need to get your ear in and then this album is TOTALLY addictive.
‘Rock n Roll Deserves to Die’ again a controversial choice of title is a bouquet of falsetto and almost medieval melodies. This track (and the whole album) is absolutely camp, but the heavy riffs and searing licks half way through kick in making the track very heavy in parts and the whole thing is delightfully English which we also know the rest of the world loves when they catch on.
‘How Can I Lose Your Love’ and ‘Till My Heart Explodes’ are ballads with a rockin heart. ‘Live Till I Die’ and most of the album such as celebratory tracks ‘We Are the Guitar Men’ (with its breathtaking widdly solo), ‘Different Eyes’ (with its jazzy and aor influences) and ‘Laylow’ (with its unusual flamenco rhythm) have ear piercing, dog howling falsetto which personally I adore and I guess my neighbours must now too?
I love the romanticism of the record and while this modern world pretends it doesn’t underneath, every one is a softy really. it’s the human condition and men that are willing to wear their hearts on their sleeve like Coverdale and The Darkness’ frontman Justin Hawkins will always get the female vote (and maybe the private male one too) for having the balls to say how he really feels.
‘Deck Chair’ is a mock serious song about the fate of a seat blown into the sea, yes the lyrics are ridiculous, but so is life and love and once again, like Zeppelin when you know how it goes it just works. ‘Easter is Cancelled’ is an all out rocker inspired by the idea that in a parallel universe Jesus was not crucified making the tradition of Easter redundant. You can either appreciate such independent thinking and be glad for Jesus or not I guess. Wherever you stand on the debate I love the combination of the heavy riffs and piercing high notes and love things that are ‘off the wall’ and Justin does statistically have science on his side, just sayin. ‘In Another Life’ is also clearly about that adage that we are all married to each other in one of the zillions of multiverses, again supported by scientific thinking apparently, but is a deliciously sweet commentary on meeting the right person at the wrong time. I totally love ‘Heavy Metal Lover’! It’s full of humour and if you can’t laugh at yourself others will.
The band have gone through a couple of relationship break ups and, in contrast, ‘Choke On It’ is a very bitter song about the aftermath. Once again its totally human and since I’ve found myself singing it I now have to watch myself in my hotel room. Certainly being caught singing the lyrics especially without music due to headphones and the ‘Die’ high note from the ‘Rock n Roll Deserves to Die’ track could probably get me locked in the looney bin. ‘Confirmation Bias’ and ‘Sutton Hoo’ are no less bizarre or striking.
Yes this album is crazy, but once it gets into your psyche you’ll be singing it too and craving to listen to it again like me. The Darkness were right to ignore ‘industry’ advice and do their own thing. Not to be missed! But do give it more than one listen it is way too complex to be absorbed at one sitting. You WILL be hooked. And I’ll have some of what Justin is having.