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The Darkness - that difficult second album???.....................!,
By A Customer
This review is from: One Way Ticket To Hell ... And Back (Audio CD)
A more downbeat yet somehow most experimental effort from The Darkness compared to their rock-out 'Permission To Land' debut, hence the mixed reviews from music magazines and fans alike. So it it worth the dip? I think so. Well, good bands will need to experiment, and Queen mega producer Roy Thomas Baker does some great first work on here (particulary when checking out the end track 'Blind Man' with its Bohemian Rhapsody-esque orchestral vocals). Any reviewers of before claiming the band to be pure Freddy rip offs and nothing more now have little grounding with Baker helping them along, and may have to think again. Well, perhaps only if Justin gives up wearing that Freddy esque catsuit! Regardless, Brian May has admitted himself to being a close friend of the band, having even rehearsed songs together (check out BrianMay.com).
The title song 'One way ticket to Hell', although a good track, was perhaps not the wisest choice for a first single, hitting in at no.8 on the uk chart, this is a far more relaxed effort compared to anything on their debut, and where a great guitar break should have been, here they opt for a sitar, which is almost unforgivable. 'Is It Just Me?' shouldve arguably been the obvious choice for a first single, perhaps the only song on the album with the same rock-out feel and end solo that could have fitted it easily onto Permission To Land. Second choices- being either 'Knockers', 'Dinner Lady Arms' or the digustingly lightweight and poppy 'Girlfriend' (a later single), all having a memorable chorus. Perhaps as a result of having a Queen uber producer at work here, The Darkness are now at their most experimental with this album- their first ever rock ballad, 'Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, 'Hazel Eyes'- a Scottish highland reel disguised as a rocksong (!), the almost too fast for its own good 'English Country Garden', and 'Bald', perhaps the first song ever to focus on male pattern baldness, certainly shows how they are trying as many different ideas as possible. Overall, it is perhaps true that there are almost too many abound, and the strain does almost show with some jokes (as ever?) almost taking presence over the music, but overall the ten tracks on offer here are strong and have been selected very well. While this album One Way Ticket to Hell does not rock anywhere near as hard as Permission to Land, if youre a fan and into a wide range of genres with a sense of humour you will probably not want to miss this. It seems The Darkness may not be one hit wonders after all and may even have a career ahead of them. Weakest track: Girlfriend. Strongest tracks: Is It Just Me?, Knockers, One Way Ticket. My rating: Good (7 out of 10).