Pinewood Smile is the fifth album from The Darkness and they just keep smashing out hit after hit! Justin Hawkins (vocals, guitar), Dan Hawkins (guitar), Frankie Poullain (bass) and Rufus Taylor (drums) have really put their heads together to create an album that is imaginative, complex and funny.
Opening with the single ‘All The Pretty Girls,’ we’re blasted by Justin’s searing falsetto, followed up by catchy riffs and a fun chorus. It’s a great indicator of what’s to come; The Darkness have always included a lot of humour in their songs and this album is no different. You’ll be singing along to ‘Rack of Glam’ and then realise it’s a song about boobs. The Darkness’ wit and playfulness is complemented by stellar guitar playing, rhythmic basslines and a concrete framework of drumming. ‘Solid Gold’ is a monster of a rock anthem and it deals with the egos and insincerity commonly associated with the music business. Then there’s ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love’ which is heavy, fast and very much The Darkness’ style of classic rock.
Every song has its own flavour and we’re even given two songs where Rufus’ voice joins Justin’s. ‘Why Don’t the Beautiful Cry’ and ‘Stampede of Love’ are a wonderful combination of Justin’s distinctive and strong voice with Rufus’ softer, warmer tone. But of course, just because these songs are more melodic ballads, doesn’t mean you won’t find some lyrical gems in there.
Really, with 14 songs you’d expect to skip over some but as it turns out Pinewood Smile is an album that you’d want to listen to from beginning to end. ‘Buccaneers of Hispaniola’ features some damn fine guitar hooks, ‘I Wish I Was In Heaven’ has beautiful lyrics and ‘Happiness’ somehow manages to convey the emotion through its tone.
This record is bloody good. It’s classic Darkness with a dash of zest—refreshing and oh so enjoyable. You can almost see Justin strutting around the stage and the band enjoying themselves as they play these songs. When performed live, this album will be be even more of a killer.
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