In my last but one review (Baby Chaos) I said about my reservations towards bands reforming and whether it was a good idea or not. And now I’m about to review another one, albeit one by a band a while into their reformation and they weren’t really split for that long. I’m not sure how much backstory I need to do for this, even my mum knows who The Darkness are. If you really are at a loss then here’s their Wiki Page. I will say that they split in 2006 due to, lead singer and guitarist, Justin Hawkins leaving the band for his holibobs in rehab. The rest of the band formed the okay Stone Gods and, once he’d sorted himself out, Justin formed Hot Leg, who sounded just like The Darkness. Their one album Red Light fever is actually pretty good. Anyway, neither band did very well and in 2011 they reformed and released the album Hot Cakes. Drummer, Ed Graham left the band due to personal reasons and was replaced with Emily Dolan Davies who played on this album. She then also left the band to be replaced by Rufus Taylor, the son of another famous drummer. Last Of Our Kind is their fourth album and was funded through the PledgeMusic site that allows fans to pay in advance so the album can get made.
All okay with that? Right then.
The first track on Last of Our Kind was also the first single and it’s called Barbarian. It’s a bludgeoning blast of old school Heavy Metal with lyrics about Vikings. It’s one of the heaviest songs they’ve done though it’s still laced with wry humour, the cartoon video for it is particularly funny should you find yourself watching it. In fact, here it is!
The second track on Last Of Our Kind was also the second single and it’s called Open Fire. It’s a joyous, energetic song and when you hear it you can’t fail to see the band are still full of fire despite their troubles and waning fame. Justin tempers his wails on this one and I had to check to see if there was a guest vocalist on it because he sounds pretty different. It’s got a nice jingly guitar line through that reminds me of Trippin’ On Ecstasy by Warrior Soul. The video for it is the only one to feature Emily Dolan Davies drumming (apart from when she was a cartoon) should you find yourself watching it. In fact, here it is!
The third track on Last Of Our Kind is also the third single and it’s the title track. It drops off the intensity of the first two tracks, though it’s still a lively and upbeat track. It highlights one of the main problems with Justin’s high pitched falsetto thing he does and that’s that it’s really hard to sing along to. The video for it features the band performing the song and pissing about with fans and looks like it was a lot fo fun to make. I laughed out loud at least three times. Tubby guy losing his vest is genius. Also Justin has shaved off his wax moustache and cut his hair and now he looks like a weird bastardisation of David Bowie and James Blunt. You can see for yourself should you find yourself watching it. In fact, here it is!
Wheels In The Machine is the first ballad and also the shortest song on here at just over three minutes. it’s alright. It would be forgettable if not for the incredible rhyming couplet of:
Trying to be a man, take a care-a
The love of my life, her name is Sarah
Mighty Wings begins with some hilariously awful synthesised organs that sounds like it’s from a Spinal Tap song but they are abruptly swept aside by a big, glorious Metal riff that morphs into what sounds like Walk by Pantera. It’s a good song but it does feel like they’ve taken the self-parody a little too far with this one. Mudslide is much better, based around a stop start guitar that has echoes of Houses Of The Holy to it. It’s another upbeat and happy song, despite the catastrophic theme of the lyrics.
Sarah O’Sarah slows it down and is another mid paced song like the title track. It’s a love song to someone he’s terrified will leave him. As there’s also a Sarah mentioned in Wheels In The Machine, I assume Sarah is his real life love, or a pseudonym at least. Next up is Hammer & Tongs, a joyous, Quotastic Rock n’ Roll boogie about making sweet, sweet love. I hope that next time you’re going at it hammer and tongs as well you picture Justin’s gurning face.
There seems to be a couple of versions of Last Of Our Kind available that have a selection of bonus tracks but I’m not gonna bother with them and just say that Conquerors is the final track. It starts off like a Bryan Adams’ power ballad and becomes a full on, flag waving anthem that you can hear the audience braying along at the end of a concert. I also enjoyed the lyric “A diamond is only some coal that stuck to its job”
The Darkness are a band that polarise opinion, mainly due to Justin Hawkins’ wailing voice, and no amount of me saying this is a good album will dissuade some folk and that’s fair enough. For those that DO like them then this is the best thing they’ve done since Permission To Land, possibly ever. It’s never going to be anywhere near as successful as their first two albums which is a shame but it should keep the fans that stuck with them happy.
8 out of 10 - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Best Track: Open Fire
Listen to Last Of Our Kind on Spotify HERE
Buy it from Amazon HERE