Aurally pleasured by Justin Hawkins

by Jo

Justin has landed! Or pounced. The Hawk has turned into a panther (silly arse, he’s a lion) and slinked his way back into our ears, causing purrs of deep contentment and a state of consciousness akin to an aftercatnip experience. We had warning of a one day 2 album record fest with Magnet Watch, fuelled by at least one Chelsea bum. I mean bun. General mayhem ensued therefore when not one but three new unheralded Justin songs arrived on his profile, then on a new myspace account which is a showcase/info only place. Link at the bottom!

All of the songs were written, performed and produced entirely by Justin, and are unmixed and unmastered. They all stem from early Darkness days, well before Permission to Land. There is information on the profile’s blog, so I’ll try not to reproduce all of it.

As we have three, then, let’s go, one by one.

You Can’t Hurt Me Any More

A home demo from 2001, played once live in Sheffield but it truly does have weird bits in the middle. You don’t want to get those sorts of things wrong on stage, so it was dropped from the set. (I bet 4000 people claim to have been at that gig, now.) It has a very rock AC/DC intro and some hard thumping drums. A nod to Van Halen, too? Well, why not. Rocking riffs, a smashing bit of disco keyboards in the middle and Bob’s your oyster.


Fans’ favourite at the moment, judging by the responses. It has a massive 80’s rock feel, with really strong bass and rhythm lines. That solo bit doesn’t quite fit seamlessly somehow… Stupidly catchy, too, which we know is Justin’s forte. It’s songs like these that melt a girl’s heart. Who wouldn’t want a song like this written for them? Open heart, open feelings. It’s one thing to write those lyrics for effect, another entirely to do it for real. How do you get that huge rocking out to match such sweetness of sentiment?

I’ve Met Jesus

This is my favourite, I’ve been bouncing off the walls singing it badly, annoying the cat. It’s harder, rocks immeasurably, bounces you around. It’s –umm – aahhhhh I love it! The chorus reminds me of ‘I Want Candy’ (Bow Wow Wow’s version, not The Strangeloves’) but I’m not sure that’ll be relevant to many of you. I can see this onstage, see the crowd jumping up and down for it. Hugely singalong, fast, stomping rock. Bless you, my child.

He sounds so good! Every note is stamped with his name, every vocal trick classic Justin. It couldn’t be anyone else. Shivers and thrills just to hear it, but extra to feel the quality sting and caress of sharply sweet voice.

These should have been TD songs. Should have been B-sides or on OWT. They would have fit so well. I’m not sure that they would have got away with ‘I’ve Met Jesus’ – the press would have crucified them for it and misinterpreted it on purpose, just because. There must be so many other good stuff that we never heard, in the archives. BUT onwards and upwards. This is Justin’s work, not TD’s, and it never was. There are, from what I make out, more songs from that era, and another set of new stuff for the album. If he did that sort of work then, with these songs still sort of in the rough, then what has he still up his sleeve? Certainly not just pretty tattoos.

I’m waiting. We’re all waiting – for the Rebirth.

(note – this is now

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