Sound — 6
I LOVE The Darkness. Let's get this clear. Their first album was a masterpiece. The guitars, the vocals, the bass, the drums, the lyrics, everything about it was heavy rock and glam made mainstream in a good, nay, great way. And Justin Hawkin, the guitarist and singer, was on crack. Then he came off crack. Then they made 'One way ticket to hell... and back'. Part way through, their bassist left. And so they got a new guy. My mate gave me a copy and I listened to it. Until then I had only heard one song from the their second album and I thought it was pretty good. I was gonna see. Album: One Way Tocket to Hell... And Back. 01. One Way Ticket - I listened to the title track song. The intro was probably not a real part of the song. It was a load of pipe music folowed by people sniffling and snuffling. I thought 'Pipe music. New, interesting. Not overly bad, but not what I expected.' I was prepared to give it a go. Then the real song came in. I listned. Again, not bad, but it was lacking the old Darkness which they had more than enough of in their first album. Then in came the solo. I was so dissapointed. It was not even anything sounding like a guiter. Justin was obviously experimenting with effects pedal, but he took away all of the power in the song with that solo. I kept listening and I reasoned that he was saving it for the next song. 02. Knockers - the solo was pretty good. Distorted as it should be. A bit short, but pretty good. A feeling of the old Darkness jsut peeping through, but the main song and it sounded pop-ish. 03. Is It Just Me - now, this is more like it! The old Darkness are back! I was so happy at this. Brilliant distorted riff, a superb solo with a nice bit of tapping was definately there. I had a bit of a headbang to this, it was that good! I could not fault this song at all, 10 out of 10! Released as a single and well worth it, I am sure! 04. Dinner Lady Arms - oh dear. They've slipped again. This is obviously a dance track. The drums were pretty good, gave it a nice beat, but it just was not rock at all. It was pretty boring and sounded more pop than anything else. The solo however: now that was different. Fast and pretty strong, but a tad quiet and far too short. 05. Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time - now, this was rock, but on a very old fashioned style. It was probably inspired by the Eagles a little bit (legendary band) and the orchestra sound was pretty good, I have to admit. I loved it: a proper, moody love song but made pretty damn good. The solo was nice and moody too, and did not sound out of place at all in the concept of the song. It sounded good, but did not fit in with the album quite so well. 06. Hazel Eyes - now this was strange. It began like marriage on synthesiser meets the orient. Then the the accoustic guitar came in. Hm. Then it went all very I can't explain it: celtic I suppose. Then this can't be right. But it was. Bagpipes? In rock? No but it was. Very Scottish. Then it sounded like proper English rock again: the guitar was good though. Distorted riffs with a wonderful solo every now and then. Nice. But the song as a whole it was as though The Darkness could not decide what it was meant to be. It was a mess! 07. Bald - scary. Nice. Eerie guitar notes with a death tolling bell. Then a sudden shock of power from hugely distorted riffs. Yes! Once again, the old darkness shined through. Then, the solo came in and I loved it! Moody, scary and strong. Distorted and beautful (in a rock way). Again, a bit short, but still great. 08. Girlfriend - a silly dance track about loving a girl. It was so camp it was terrifying. More terrifying than 'Bald'. The guitarring was alright I guess, but didn't fit in with the song, and there was a hopeless keyboard solo that went on for farrrrr too long. He even put violins into this song! No, I'm sorry, but no. He's turned into Maddonna. Every rock fans worst nightmare! I know, he was probably just having a laugh and a good time, but. 09. English Country Garden - this was just plains silly, and not even in a funny way. I'm sorry to say, that this was absolute rubbish (some people wont agree here, but I'm saying what I truthfully mean. We've lost you Justin, please come back to us). The solo almost redeams it but it does not fit in at all. 10. Blind Man - it came and went. It was so slow and pointless and short, I can tell you nothing about it. There was no guitar at all, the vocals were boring, the whole song was a waste of space. This was meant to be rock but.
Lyrics — 7
Of course, Justin Hawkins has an incredible singing voice: He has such a range to his voice, it is actually scary (in a good way). He is a brilliant singer, but is let down by a lot of his lyrics and choices on how he sings in this album. He sounds like a cat with it's tail being trodden on for some of the song and some kind of narcotic woman in others. a lot of his lyrics are just like something he put together whilst alone, drunk in a bar. Some of his lyric choices are great. Is it just me? is astounding. Hazel eyes vocals are pretty good and One way ticket to hell sounded wonderful (but the lyrics were pointless there as well). Seemed like a good idea was brilliant. He does have a good voice for soft rock (such as in Good Idea) and maybe he should try it more often, but I miss the real Justin with his funky rock lyrics from 'permission to Land'.
Overall Impression — 7
It sounds like a bands first attempt in the world, being unable to find their sound, not too sure what they want to be. The Darkness have taken a backwards step. The only decent songs in the album are One Way Ticket (8/10), Is It Just Me? (10/10) and Bald (8/10). Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time (9/10) was a good song as well, but it didn't fit in with the album, really. I sorry, but Justin has left us. This is him off of crack for gods sake! It is so upsetting when artists can't make decent music unless under the influence. If I lost the CD I might not buy it again. I pains me to say all this about the Darkness, who only a few years ago were probably the best rock band for the time, but they have just left us. There just aren't enough redeeming factors to the album.