EASTER IS CANCELLED
Released on October 4, 2019 (Canary Dwarf / Cooking Vinyl)
Coming off what are arguably their two best studio releases to date, UK glam rockers The Darkness have dropped studio album number six entitled, Easter Is Cancelled. The Darkness have always been a band whom while very serious musicians, have also straddled the line of not taking themselves too seriously and adding comedic elements to their songs, giving their fans a subtle wink and smile, while blistering through a guitar solo. The Darkness have mixed things up a bit this go around by recording their first concept album. In an interview from Billboard, lead singer and guitarist Justin Hawkins described the theme of the album to be of envisioning a world in which Jesus Christ never died. If the thought of that alone did not scream taboo to some, they certainly screamed sacrilege at the album cover in which Hawkins appears as a jacked-up Jesus on the cross. Contrary to the cries of blasphemy, Hawkins stands pat in claiming that the album itself is free from any such irreverence and is actually a rather positive and optimistic spin of the envisioned alternate universe, but enough with the deep stuff, lets get into the tunes!
The first single released from the album was a very interesting choice, which turned out to be the opening track on the album, “Rock And Roll Deserves To Die.” Not only is this the longest track on the album at five and a half minutes, but it is a song that builds as you listen to it. While it is a fine way to start the album, I do not think it is the best single to drop to get that initial batch of attention the lead single often garners. In fact, the second single released — “Heart Explodes” — is nothing special in and of itself. I will confess that it grows on you a bit over time but lacks that little bit of extra mojo a single should have. It was not until the third single was dropped, the title track “Easter Is Cancelled” that The Darkness kick the door open and play some good old-fashioned hard rock! This is quite possibly the best track on the album, certainly as far as rockers go.
As for the remainder of the tracks that were dropped on release day, aside from a couple of good mid-tempo songs, “How Can I Lose Your Love” and “In Another Life”, style songs The Darkness do very well, nothing overly stands out. “The Guitar Men” is pretty good and “Heavy Metal Lover” is fun for what it’s worth, but what we seem to have is an album full of sevens on a scale of one to ten. There isn’t a bad song to be found. Everything is solid and good, but there is also nothing great on here.
If you are a fan of The Darkness, you will most likely enjoy this release. However, if you are not, I doubt that this will do much for you, as it lacks singles or hits. It is a very solid album from start to end and is a decent listen, but outside of the context of the album as a whole, I am curious to see how these tracks stand up over time along side of the rest of their catalog. The Darkness are currently playing the entire album from start to finish live in concert before playing a second set with songs from the rest of their catalog. Aside from maybe one, two songs at best, I cannot foresee songs from this album as being part of future live sets. The hit single or perennial fan favorite is nowhere to be found on this record, just a solid batch of album songs. There is a place for this amid The Darkness’ catalog, unfortunately it’s near the bottom of the pecking order with the incohesive Hot Cakes. Yes, it is worth a listen, but if you really want The Darkness at their finest, go back and give their last two studio albums a listen, Last of Our Kind and Pinewood Smile. There is certainly enough to like here, but nothing to love.
01. Rock And Roll Deserves To Die
02. How Can I Lose Your Love
03. Live ‘Til I Die
04. Heart Explodes
05. Deck Chair
06. Easter Is Cancelled
07. Heavy Metal Lover
08. In Another Life
09. Choke On It
10. We Are The Guitar Men
Justin Hawkins – vocals, guitars, piano
Dan Hawkins – guitars, backing vocals
Frankie Poullain – bass, backing vocals
Rufus Tiger Taylor – drums, backing vocals
Reviewed by Todd Myers for Sleaze Roxx, December 2019
The Darkness‘ “Rock And Roll Deserves To Die” video:
From the brand new album ‘Easter Is Cancelled’.