The Darkness have today released their first single from the album Last Of Our Kind, due out on 1st June this year. The recent issue of ‘Barbarian’ was described as an ‘amuse-bouche’ which indeed it is. It has whetted untold appetites in different ways, to the detriment of several thousand pairs of undercrackers and a few chairs.
None of that quite prepared us for ‘Open Fire‘, though. A 13 second burst of intro at the weekend created a buzz loud enough to set off alarms at Monsanto’s head office. All Culty and jangly, it promised very many things of the whole.
We’re delivered a bit of an epic musicmeld. Guitars weave over and under each other, both driving and sparkling across the surface of dark rhythms to provide a classic and more alternative rock synergy. One moment there’s a little bit of indie, the next, adding full on glam, and then, the rockest of solos – it works. They sit and create together like the oldest of friends, giving and taking prominence. Bursts of bright riff fireworks explode every now and again, setting up and enhancing searchlight strength solos. These vocals are not those of Darkness stereotype, though there are moments of finely controlled rock scream. They are lower, different to the extent that Justin’s involvement was questioned, but it is undoubtedly him. The breadth of range and ease with which Justin sings drips versatility and hints at still more unknown vocal powers to come on this album.
We have what looks like a love song – who doesn’t want a hug on a sheepskin rug before an open fire? – but listen. It’s not light and sequins and glass slippers. It’s desperately but willingly holding on to what you have, in the face of what there is without it, and knowing that even that last bastion could destroy you. Opening fire on a heart already damaged almost to oblivion might give bliss, mercy or horror. Take your pick, depending on your mood.
The Darkness do ‘almost love songs’ very well. Just look out for the bite.
When all was revealed today, there was the obligatory ‘shhh, listening hard’ silence – for a few seconds. Impossible to keep up. First the foot, then the air guitar (what’s it called when you sing it, not airplay it?), first chorus joined in (badly), the odd WAAAAH when deemed necessary, and a full throated warble of any available chorus note and lyric after that. By the end of the first 4 minute round, I was exhausted, because I haven’t mentioned the dancing. You can’t help dance to this. It’s infectious, as Darkness songs so often are, but containing many more infections. It’ll getcha, one way or another. Embracing the darkness is quite easy.
A final note, on Emily Dolan Davies – she has captured the hearts and loyalty of fans during the Eire tour just finished. The Darkness were wise not to replace Ed Graham with like for like, for many reasons – it just wouldn’t have been ‘right’. Emily has a different influence within the Darkness sphere and a different place with the fans. Memories remain intact with us, and the present and future is emerging to shine in her own unshadowed light.