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|1. One Way Ticket|
|3. Is It Just Me?|
|4. Dinner Lady Arms|
|5. Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time|
|6. Hazel Eyes|
|9. English Country Garden|
|10. Blind Man|
Recorded with "Bohemian Rhapsody" producer Roy Thomas Baker, the rest is a feat of flamboyant musicianship and shameless high-fidelity sound. One highlight comes with "English Country Garden", a falsetto-pitched number reminiscent of Queen in their pomp that sees Hawkins compare his genitalia to a prize-winning marrow. One Way Ticket , however, is particularly notable for an explicitly romantic streak. "Is It Just Me?" ("Or am I all on my own again?") is a desperate letter to a distant ex-lover, and if the title "Dinner Lady Arms" isnt exactly the most flattering of testaments, the sincerity of its sentiment is unmistakable.--Louis Pattison
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One Way Ticket To Hell And Back is the conclusion of a year-long journey from Lowestoft to London and from Monmouth to LA to prove to everyone (and themselves) just how utterly irrelevant every other band is right now. To create the album they simply had no choice but to make. To prove The Darkness are still the worlds greatest band.
So, when it came to making a second album, the stakes were high. This meant finding an extraordinary producer that could realise their ambitions. Enter Roy Thomas Baker, affectionately know as RTB, responsible for crafting some of the most impressive and influential records of all time with a CV that includes Queen, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Free and The Who.
RTB isnt an ordinary producer in the same way that The Darkness arent an ordinary band. He and the band were introduced in Los Angeles, instantly bonded over a mutual love of rock and were able to start assembling the album together. "Roy Thomas Baker is a genius, thats all there is to say about it". Justin declares, "Its been a privilege to watch that man work, his ear is perfect, his instinct fabulous".
One Way Ticket To Hell And Back is a big rock album about faith lost and restored, and about love lost and found. The Darkness really didnt have any choice but to make a record this good. The stakes were too high and the sheer, superhuman feat of pulling it back from the edge (an effort that would most likely kill any lesser band stone-dead) has done nothing but steel their resolve and drive them to make what had to be--and is--the finest rock album of the past twenty years.
One Way Ticket... To Hell And Back features 10 tracks in total - most are quite short; it's rare for a song on the album to last even as long as 4 minutes. So be warned, this is a very short album indeed - only 35 minutes 10 seconds long to be exact.
Most of the songs are good but the last two tracks prove to be somewhat of an anti-climax. In these final tracks The Darkness sound nothing more than a Queen tribute band and I'm not all that keen on it. The rest of the album is full of fantastic riffs, wailing vocals and also some guitar solos for good measure. Pan pipes, pianos and a string arrangement also feature but guitars are at the forefront of the album.
I'd also like to make it known that in Hazel Eyes (track 6), The Darkness have produced probably the most infectious chorus of the year - I just can't get it out of my head!
To sum up, this is an impressive album that has been very well produced but is marred only by the final two tracks being rather weak and the fact that it is so short. It's not a joke album either - the lyrics might not be all that serious but a majority of the songs are of high quality and some thought has obviously been put into creating them. If you liked the first album and haven't been put off by the bands much publicised egos then this comes highly recommended.
One Way Ticket: 8/10. Good opening track. Doesn't do anything special as a result, but it's catchy, upbeat and radio-friendly.
Knockers: 9/10. More like it. Justin's got his swagger going now, and there's a nice strong chorus too. A bit short, mind.
Is It Just Me?: 9/10. This is as close The Darkness get to their 'Permission To Land' roots (not that I'm suggesting that they're better off that way!). Good old fashioned high-octane rock, and definitely a grower.
Dinner Lady Arms: 7/10. Good, but not great. Feels like a break in pace too early in the album. Still fits well with the album's theme, though.
Seemed Like A Good Idea: 10/10. 'Love Is Only A Feeling''s older, sexier sister. Beautiful, powerful and with brilliant lyrics. Possible single.
Hazel Eyes: 10/10. PERFECT. No, really. You just can't help but love this euphoric, epic powerhouse of a tune that hits you every time.
Bald: 10/10. PERFECT. Again. Moody, sneering, rifftastic and massive. Demands to be heard.
Gilfriend: 8/10. Seems to suffer from having to follow-up 'Bald', but the strings work nicely, and the chorus will stubbornly remain in your head for a long time.
English Country Garden: 10/10. This is grower (excuse the pun), and just seems to sound better and better the more you hear it. Crazy, mad and quick.
Blind Man: 8/10. A wierd one this. I wouldn't listen to this on it's own, but it's certainly a fitting end to the album, and whilst sounding serious, it has the classic Darkness tongue-in-cheek humour.