Starting with feedback always prepares you for something & as soon as the riff starts you know you’re in for a ride. The Darkness have always done things on their own terms & provided listeners with an entertaining mix of in your face riffs & good time with a dash of tongue in cheek set in an all in good fun atmosphere. With their 5th offering ‘Pinewood Smile‘, The Darkness is, once again, in the finest fine form yet again & does not disappoint. They have managed to deliver an album which is in every way what you would come to expect from The Darkness & have managed added some tasty new layers to remove it from just being another run of the mill release. They have also enlisted Rufus “Tiger” Taylor, son of Queen legend Roger Taylor, on drums & also adds vocal dimension as well as sharing vocal duties with their flamboyant frontman Justin Hawkins. Another masterstroke was having Adrian Bushby (who has the duel recording & producing hat for this album) a Grammy Award-winning producer (Foo Fighters, Muse). Pinewood Smile simply sounds great, is well written & is a load of fun to listen to.
It features 14 Tracks & leads with a kick in the face with ‘All the Pretty Girls‘ along with the signature falsetto over riffs we’ve come to love & expect from the band. It charges through ‘Buccaneers of Hispaniola‘ chock full of layered harmonies that wouldn’t sound completely out of place on a Muse album (or Queen for that matter) before rolling into the cheeky rock n roll of ‘Solid Gold‘ (you’ll find yourself fighting the urge to ready your fist pump the air). ‘Southern Trains‘ steams in where the band let’s loose at full throttle before taming it down into ‘Why Don’t the Beautiful Cry‘. ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love‘ brings the riff back setting a mood to groove before ‘Lay Down With Me, Barbara‘ ,with it’s quieter verses & crashing choruses, presents a nice tie in between the riff laden Darkness & a more subtle side. ‘I Wish I Was In Heaven‘ almost could be a more rock BeeGees & ‘Happiness‘ is an anthem in typical The Darkness fashion. ‘Stampede of Love‘ brings it back down to break up the album & provide a little breather before ‘Uniball‘ complete with it’s backbeat Led Zepplin-eqsue groove & signature The Darkness chorus brings back the rock. ‘Rack Of Glam‘ is a fun rock n roll track then moves into power ballad heaven with ‘Seagulls (Losing My Virginity)‘. It all comes to a close with ‘Rock In Space‘, a nice triumphant album closer which Bowie himself would proud of.
Overall, the UK rockers have brought an album that will surely get their fans excited & definitely provides listeners with an something to save our airwaves from mediocre, auto-tuned tweens & throbbing EDM in their distinctive & hugely entertaining ways. It’s really, really good to have them back.