The Darkness

Black ShuckPermission To Land
Growing On MePermission To Land
I Believe In A Thing Called LovePermission To Land
Givin' UpPermission To Land
Is It Just Me?One Way Ticket To Hell ...
Nothin's Gonna Stop UsHot Cakes
Everybody Have A Good TimeHot Cakes
Last Of Our KindLast Of Our Kind
Sarah O'SarahLast Of Our Kind
Solid GoldPinewood Smile

The Darkness logo


The Darkness photo

Ed Graham, Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain



The Darkness playlist



Contributor: Keith Shackleton

“I hate The Darkness. [Expletive deleted] hate ’em. I don’t understand it. I know they are huge, but I never really got it. It’s just Spinal Tap, isn’t it? It’s just a lark. I’m not sure they think so though. I think they take it seriously. They made a little splash in the US but, man… I don’t get it at all.” Jon Bon Jovi

“Dave Grohl – [expletive deleted] – rings me up, 11 o’clock at night, and says: ‘Come down the Rainbow and have a drink.’ And I get there and he’s surrounded by The Darkness. Dave’s a nice guy – he likes to keep the peace, which is a great thing. So I’m sitting next to the singer and he says: ‘So you don’t like my vocals?’ I said: ‘I don’t like ’em because it’s not my sort of thing, but I defend to the death your right to do what you want to do.’ As soon as we talked about it, it made it alright, cos bands are basically on the same side.” Lemmy

“No one said I was relevant.” Justin Hawkins

“The early oughts, the noughties or whatever you want to call it, was a time in music that I look back on now and think ‘why did I listen to those guys?’ more than any other era in history. There were an awful lot of well, I don’t know, not very good bands, let’s say, in my opinion. The Strokes are people like that, who were acclaimed as the second coming. And you now listen to them and you think ‘what was all the fuss about?’. It was supposed to be the resurgence of guitar music, in which case, I’m not ashamed to say I could listen to Permission To Land by The Darkness over an awful lot of albums that came out in the noughties. It’s just more fun … There was a huge fuss about The Darkness at one point when they covered Radiohead’s Street Spirit. ‘How dare they do that?’ … but Justin Hawkins is in fact Thom Yorke on a bit of the happy juice really. Don’t get me wrong, I like Radiohead. But I’ve also descended into a bit of a Darkness rabbit hole as well. And I may well write a Darkness top 10. You’re all gonna hate it, I know. Because you don’t really like ’em, do you folks? Or maybe you do? I dunno, tell me.” Me, episode 13 of Only A Podcast


While there might be a greater focus these days on what can be said and what shouldn’t be, I’d still listen to the Darkness. Because the riffs and chord progressions make total sense. They’re a hard rock band, and a very good one. They’re obvious and crass, but hey, that’s hard rock. That guy wears silly clothes? Well, that worked out just fine for Kiss, Freddie Mercury, MF Doom, Daft Punk, Orville Peck … you get the idea.

They’re a band who is funny about being funny. Half Man Half Biscuit, sardonic lyrics and all, barely crack a smile (come on lads, at least try look like you’re enjoying yourselves). It’s a schtick? Well, everyone has one, “serious” bands more than most. The Darkness irritate me far less than Guns and Roses, for example, which is to say hardly at all.

So as I said, I could pick ten Darkness songs which I’d much rather listen to over and above a lot of the oughts more critically acclaimed output, Up The Bracket or Silent Alarm or Funeral or Illinoise or … you get the idea. Strap yourselves in.

Four from Permission To Land, two big hits, and two live favourites: the myth and legend of an East Anglian ghost dog, and the single most unapologetic drug song you’ll ever hear. A debut that just raged out of the blocks, sounded massive, and condensed all the energy of live performance, built on riffs so solid you could build a skyscraper on them.

Then what? Amidst acrimony, illness, addiction and a whole lot of falling out, the band slumped. That’s a pretty rapid rise and fall. Way to overdo the rock cliché, lads. You just looked plain unhealthy back then. But I’m picking the one track that’s built on a riff so solid you could build a skyscraper on it.

Then what? A whole lotta hiatus and a whole lotta getting healthy. Seven years (count ’em) passed until Hot Cakes, a whole album once again built on riffs so solid you could build a skyscraper on them and so, displaying some of the sheer glee which accompanies the best of The Darkness, in my list are two big hits, one of which is the best Darkness video. Cycling in the city at night? Fixing your hair? You do you, lads.

Then what? Maybe they are the last of their kind, spitting out (or a phrase that rhymes with that) hit songs built on golden riffs so solid you could build a skyscraper on them, so I end the list with a couple of songs from the recent records musing about exactly that, and an homage which is painfully accurate from the opening bars and brought a smile to my face. Spot the hard rock reference.

Hey, I realise not everyone needs riffs so solid you could build a skyscraper on them, but if you do …





Motorheart released November 2021 on Cooking Vinyl





The Darkness official website

Justin Hawkins Rides Again YouTube channel

The Darkness: Awards and Honours

The Darkness biography (AllMusic)

Keith Shackleton is still suspicious of albums over 40 minutes long. Follow him on Twitter @RiverboatCapt and read more of his musings on music at his website.

TopperPost #1,021

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.