Artist: The Darkness
Album: Pinewood Smile
Release date: October 6th 2017
Review by Claire Komar
I remember 2003 vividly when The Darkness first came onto the scene and we all promptly fell over at the sound of Permission To Land. A true masterpiece which I am certain is present in any decent music collection, however unbelievably difficult to follow. As my Dad always says, "Once you are at the top, it's a long way down". While the band have released albums after Permission To Land, none have quite lived up to its epic mark. However upon listening to their newest album, Pinewood Smile, it certainly shows promise.
Opening with "All the Pretty Girls" brings classic The Darkness vibes with rip roaring guitar riffs and that all familiar falsetto voice from Justin, setting a promising tone for the rest of the album. "Buccaneers of Hispaniola" brings heavy guitar riffs and vocal harmonies that take you back to the 80's when Queen were at their prime, while "Solid Gold" could be mistaken for a classic AC/DC track, minus the foul language of course. "Southern Trains" brings an explosive intro with an unmistakable Taylor trademark drum fill leading into a metal like guitar riff, with the verses bring a strong melodic rock vibe that create a strong fast paced track with lots of energy. "Why Don't The Beautiful Cry" brings the tone down leaving the metal riffs behind and replacing them with beautiful melodies, gentle lyrics and whimsical guitar solos. "Japanese Prisoner Of Love" is a considerably more dramatic track which brings guitar riffs reminiscent of Brian May's finest work, close your eyes for a second and you could imagine this track as an old demo from Queen's first album. "Lay Down With Me Barbara" brings the tone down again starting off soft but has bursts of energy surrounding the impressive guitar solos. "Happiness" could maybe have been left off the album, while I love any guitar solo The Darkness has to offer, the lyrics and melodies lack depth and originality. Fortunately enough, the last track on the album "Stampede of Love" is stunning. A folk influenced intro brings beautiful vocal melodies and gentle chords from acoustic instruments, which lead into a chorus drenched in explosive guitar solos and strong loud catchy vocals reminiscent of bands first album.
While I find it difficult to ever put Permission To Land down and firmly believe it is the best album that The Darkness has ever created, Pinewood Smile certainly gives it a run for it's money. The band still has a firm grasp of their unique, powerful sound creating an album with different flavours and impressive, flawless musicianship from every single member. Pinewood Smile has proven that The Darkness are still going strong and I am very much looking forward to seeing them perform at their live shows.
7 out of 10.
Pinewood Smiles is out October 6th via Cooking Vinyl. You can pre-order it here.