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Record Rating: ****

The Darkness - Permission To Land - Warner Music Despite the scorn of untold numbers of rock critics, the British quartet Queen was one of modern musicís mammoth successes. Vocalist Freddie Mercury fronted the band with a mix of campy singing that was alternately anthemic and downright silly and fun. That band could possibly have been the best thing to ever happen to rock and roll.

And now, finally someone has picked up where Queen left off and brings the rock to the masses as god intended: loud, unruly, and with plenty of spandex, wailing vocals and guitar solos. Sounding like the love child of Freddie Mercury, lead singer Justin Hawkins of The Darkness takes us through some of the most outrageously, bizarre metal nonsense to come down the pike on the bandís latest effort Ė Permission To Land. Released originally in the UK in 2003, itís finally found its way to our Indian shores Ė and its rocking good!

The album has already yielded a few hits like I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Get Your Hands Off My Woman and Growing On Me - excellent, fun songs that you will be humming in no time. Fronted by Justin Hawkins (singer and lead guitar), and backed up by brother Dan Hawkins (rhythm guitar), Frankie Poullain (bass) and Ed Graham (drums), the band admits to be unabashed admirers of Queen and other 70ís rock giants. And while, admittedly, The Darkness borrows nearly everything that makes up their sound from previous rock acts, itís their energy sets them apart from other acts today doing the same thing. And the good news, aside from those offerings, the 10 track play list also boasts the gratuitous power ballad. Givin' Up sounds like a late 80's Bon Jovi ballad and Friday Night is a real feel good song if there ever was one. Their music wonít save the world, but it will make you jump around the room convulsively with the occasional head-banging episode. And itís been a while since Iíve had that urge while listening to a band.

The upshot Ė Permission To Land is an entertaining, 80ís hair pop album that will put a smile on your face. The only gripe I do have with this album, that with only 10 tracks and thirty-eight minutes of playtime, it does leave you wanting more. And you really have to see the video to I Believe In A Thing Called Love to believe it - the best bit is undoubtedly Justin wailing 'Geetar!' before the extended guitar solo! The Darkness is a band to definitely look out for. The word hasnít even spread that far about them in Britain yet, but it is sure to do so soon. This band could go a long way. Two thumbs up all the way.

Read our other reviews:

Mariah Carey - The Emancipation Of Mimi       Will Smith - Lost & Found       Rock 2005 - Various Artists       Athlete - Tourist      


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