The Darkness

Record Review

Phases and Stages

The Darkness

Permission to Land (Atlantic) The Darkness: novelty, curiosity, anachronism, or the latest saviors of pure, unadulterated R-O-C-K? While Yanks, provided they care at all, tend to view the four British lads as some combination of the first three, the band has hit their native land like one of their powerhouse riffs. Permission to Land -- the first debut LP to top the UK charts since Coldplay's Parachutes -- is all Justin Hawkins' Freddie Mercury-like falsetto piled upon acres of creamy Marshall-stacked goodness. Campy? To be sure. Derivative? Absolutely. But cock-rock of this sheer magnitude and pomposity has been dormant at least since "Smells Like Teen Spirit" washed away "November Rain," so who really cares? Hawkins is a born rock god, blessed with the vocal range of Mariah Carey and the raffish good looks of a young Roger Daltrey, and his mates -- brother Dan on lead guitar, bassist Frankie Poullain, and drummer Ed Graham -- obviously graduated top of their class from the AC/DC academy of sauciness. Opener "Black Shuck" and "Stuck in a Rut" in particular have that extra High Voltage kick, not to take anything away from the scissor-kicking intensity of "Get Your Hands Off My Woman" or catchy (so to speak) STD romp "Growing on Me." Permission only stumbles on tepid power ballad and closer "Holding My Own"; perhaps they can bring in Mutt Lange for the next go-round. Spinal Tap analogies would be much too obvious, but Permission to Land practically demands to be played at 11. Otherwise, why even bother?

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Sabbath Crow
Carrion Highway Weird Sun (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Aug. 16, 2019

Texas Platters
USA/Mexico
Matamoros (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Aug. 16, 2019

More by Christopher Gray
Margaret Moser Tribute: Alvin Crow
Alvin Crow
Summer camp with the kids

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
That Margaret Moser, she’s a rainbow

June 30, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle