The Darkness - Easter is Cancelled

The Darkness Easter is Cancelled cover
The Darkness
Easter is Cancelled
Cooking Vinyl / Canary Dwarf
The Darkness were the closest thing to a classic rock band to come out of the UK in recent memory to achieve some sort of success and cultural relevance, but maybe due to the fact that they overdid it, with the stratospheric falsettos, they imploded as soon as their second album came out in a haze of white powder and a blame powerplay.
After the two derivative albums, “Hot Leg” and “Stone Gods” run the course, the band reunited, releasing some less than spectacular albums, refraining from falsettos, as much as they could and changing drummers all the while attempting to come up with the elusive album that would put them back in the headlines, without the support of a major company… try they might, as hard as they could but they didn’t come close, now that the Lowestoftians seem to have given up on their loftly dream and almost effortlessly are able to come up with the goods, ironic as that may be.
They are not doing anything differently than before, other than allowing themselves to have fun and be as British as they wanna be while doing so, they keeping the falsettos in check and their tongues firmly stuck on the proverbial cheek while they rawk out!
“Rock and Roll Deserves to Die” spits in the face of the modern corporate cookie cutter rock, with the endearing ignorance of danger that their bygone status as country darlings has afforded them.
“How Can I Lose Your Love” begins with a panning intro quite reminiscent of Sophie B Hawkins (maybe a cousin?) “Right Beside You”… but it quickly slips into a half ballad, half rocker, with pretty normal vocals by J Hawkins, who displays here a maturity and gusto in his performance in something that the late Freddie Mercury might have enjoyed in his solo days…
The Darkness comes up with a rock n roll story that could be for real or not, it doesn’t matter on “Live ‘Til I Die”, a song that again feels like a less extreme cousin of Queen’s “Brighton Rock”. Nice harmonies, an endearing story told, and maybe a little more falsetto than the doctor ordered… Bruce Dickinson (not that Iron Maiden impostor chap, but the cock of the walk) would also suggest some cowbell, because there’s none?! Sacrilege!
“Heart Explodes” is an earnest failure at an attempt to write a ballad, which ends up being better than a by the numbers tearjerker… actually up to this point the band displays good taste and sufficient self-restraint that keeps them from going down the spiral of unintentional self-mockery.
“Deck Chair” sounds like a 40s ballad compete with strings and all. Actually it’s surprisingly neat.
“Easter is Cancelled” however explodes into the quasi-queen-over the top falsetto fests that the band was known for and despite its nice riffs, I nowadays tend to find the kick in the bowes falsettos an acquired taste, I’ve grown out of.
Thankfully that doesn’t last for so long, as “Heavy Metal Lover” is a genuinely funny pisstake at “metal’s cliches” that’s done so lovingly that you can’t help but love it.
“In Another Life” initially sounds as a happy hour special in Hawaii, with the band lazily sipping on long drinks before the return back to their normal m.o. midway.
“Choke on it” is an almost punkish tune, like a darker “black shuck”, which ain’t such a bad thing I guess.
Lastly at least on some versions, “We Are the Guitar Men” is a nice melodic tune in the tradition of the best 70s rock bands, but also bearing the bands signature.
Then there’s another four songs in the deluxe edition: “Laylow” is an acoustic oddity, and I suppose not meant to be taken too seriously. And I’ll take the Delevingnes. It’s fun.
“Different Eyes” is a bit of filler, an easy to listen to but easy to discard, so… yeah...
“Confirmation Bias” is supposedly a very serious acoustic guitar ballad that’s even announced... by a pleasant female voice… it’s too depressive, until it almost pulls the mickey by going extremely high with falsettos.
Another somewhat useless exercise in falsettizing and meandering about a song, whimsically and without great focus is “Sutton Hoo”, which ain’t bad, but like most of its ilk (the other 3 bonus tracks) is largely forgettable.
All in all, The Darkness present a rather eclectic collection of songs in the main album, showing admirable self-restraint from taking the piss far too often, so all we’re left with is an album that rocks and is fun, which is a mighty fine combination for the style that The Darkness adhere to. You could re-title this to well, too bad this isn’t our third album, it might have kept the train a-rolling… but for better or worse Them Dark boys have arrived at their destination at long last.