UK rock legends The Darkness have been laying down tracks in the studio and are about to release their fifth album, Pinewood Smile. This is drummer Rufus Taylor’s debut album with the band, and he even lends his voice alongside Justin Hawkins’ for a few tracks—the outcome is magical. Pinewood Smile sees this distinctive band delivering some pretty sharp-witted and infectious humour, and, really, just downright brilliant songs.
TEO chatted with Frankie Poullain (bassist) to find out what went on with this album, getting to know Rufus and the news about a possible Darkness doco.
TEO: You guys always make exciting music and this is album number five. Can you tell us about the general vibe of Pinewood Smile?
Frankie: Just four guys with old fashioned values laying down their cloaks over the puddle of rock.
I imagine you’d have a lot of fun in the recording studio, how quickly did this album come together?
It was actually a two-year period of writing. The summer of 2015 was when we stayed in Alicante, Spain, which was a tourism hellhole. We basically got to know Rufus, because he’d just joined the band and we had a writing session that turned into a jam. We holed ourselves up with a mattress against the door and one of the songs that came out of that session was ‘Rack of Glam,’ which is a bonus track on the album. It’s Justin deconstructing a man’s relationship with a female mammary gland. If you listen to the lyrics, they’re quite enlightening.
I know it’s not nice to play favourites, but what’s your favourite song on the album?
Yeah, I’m quite happy to say that I think ‘Why Don’t the Beautiful Cry’ is my favourite song. It’s a beautiful warm-hearted ballad and a duet between Justin and Rufus; Rufus has a very warm timbre to his voice, like a golden honey tone, and I think it goes very well with Justin’s searing falsettos. There’s also a lot of humour in that song too, they had a lot of fun with wordplay. As well as one of our rockier songs is ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love’ which is really epic, but the theme is quite dark.
What’s your backstage routine?
Just to take the piss out of each other really.
This year has been full on for you guys, what do you do in your down time?
I swim in Hampstead Ponds, read, watch docos, play tennis and generally do what other people do to get by.
We do still have a few months left of 2017, is The Darkness squeezing in anything else this year?
Well, the album launch is in October, and then we’re jetting off to tour Europe and the UK.
Can Aussie fans expect another Darkness tour to promote Pinewood Smile?
Yes, next year!
Lastly, what’s this I hear about a documentary on The Darkness?
There are already 400 hours in the can. It looks pretty weird and hopefully wonderful, I just hope it’s revealing so we finally find out what the fuck we are actually doing and why!
Pinewood Smile will be released on Friday 6th of October. You can pre-order your copy here.
Watch the video for ‘All The Pretty Girls’ here.
Watch the video for ‘Solid Gold’ here.
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Photos: Simon Emmett