The Darkness - Permission To Land

The Darkness were always going to be band destined to fill stadiums or be a cult concern for a devoted following. It was never going to be anything else for the band who have been called comedy rock for the best part of 2003 and just under a year ago when their demo (featuring early versions of "I Believe In A Thing Called Love", "Love Is Only A Feeling" and "Love On The Rocks With No Ice") arrived in the Designer Magazine offices we had no preconceptions at all. Justin's image of flaming tattoo's from his midriff and spandex wasn't imprinted in our brains and yet we read with a fascination Simon Price's biography of this band who formed after a karaoke performance of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". It was of course still in the back of our minds that Price has been behind the Romo scene a few years earlier and while Orlando were the work of genius the scene was never destined to be more than a fetishistic concern for the national media. It was entirely possible the Darkness could go the same way.

July 2003 and the band have had their first Top 20 hit with "Growing On Me", supported Def Leppard and Deep Purple and are set to support Robbie Williams at Knebworth to over 300,000 people. "Permission To Land" is an album which for us was a case of greeting old friends and introducing them to the new gang (including the early demos 5 of the songs featured here have been released in some form before) and naturally for the Darkness they stick to the old skool traditions where just 10 songs were featured on an album to allow them to fit on vinyl. The idea of releasing a 14 track CD complete with fillers was simply never going to happen. Of the aforementioned demo tracks they've been recorded to fit in more with the bands live sound which was moving away from the high class sheen while still maintaining that air of a band destined to fill stadiums.

"Friday Night" is destined to be released as a future single with Justin walking round the set of late 70s Grange Hill doing his best to emulate Alice Cooper and Britney Spear simultaneously joining the band in the school hall for the final scene with the teachers tied up in the caretakers office. "Givin Up" is in the classic vein of strung out smack head song and you wonder whether they could take this to Number 1 following the fact that "Get Your Hands Off My Woman" got to number 43 with more profanity's than the Super Furry's "Man Don't Give A F**K" (Ed: If 15% of the crowd at Knebworth bought the single, it's not out of the realms of possibility so petition the band for it's release). The albums ends as only the Darkness could with "Holding Me Own", a ballad of Queen proportions and featuring lush harmonies as Justin's last words "I'm holding my own no matter what I put myself through" before the guitar solo kicks in.

"Permission To Land" is as close to perfection as you can get. Justin, Dan, Frankie, Ed - we salute you!!!

Alex McCann

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