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The Darkness – Motorheart

The Darkness
by Kenn Staub at 18 December 2021, 5:56 AM

THE DARKNESS formed during 2000 in the coastal town of Lowestoft (England), rising to prominence three years later with the release of their debut album, “Permission To Land.” Since then, THE DARKNESS has established themselves as the “Orwellian boot stamping on the flaccid face of limp rock” (their words). November saw the release of their seventh studio album, “Motorheart,” a collection of tunes designed to “transport \[listeners] from this moaning and weeping vale of tears to Elysian fields of rock where all hands are raised, the drinks are free, and everyone wears a smile” (again, their words).

On “Motorheart,” THE DARKNESS remains true to what’s served them well for the past 21 years: Justin Hawkins singing Viz-like lyrics, many times in his distinctive falsetto, as the band plays their fresh take on 70’s- and 80’s-inspired, glam-influenced hard rock. It’s a case of “if it ain’t broke, why fix it” (my words). Album opener “Welcome To Glasgae” has a bassy, bagpipe-accented intro leading into a full-blown rock song. “It’s Love, Jim” is a big rocker right from the start, a great bass line motoring along underneath the melody. The song “Motorheart” has just a bit too much going on; a mélange of styles that sometimes works and at other times give a sense of disjointedness.

The Power And The Glory Of Love” is very easy to like, reeking (in a good way) as it does of 80’s glam. A humorous love song of sorts, “Jussy’s Girl” is a solid, well-structured rock number with a guitar solo that’s a bit more on the harder-edged than previously heard. What would a pop-metal album be without a power ballad? THE DARKNESS delivers with “Sticky Situations,” replete with bluesy guitar work.

Nobody Can Hear Me Cry” ventures into the thrash/speed side, revving up and throttling down. “Eastbound” is a bluesy, pop-rock track with a chorus that’s easy to singalong with. The name checking of bars/pubs is a great touch, especially if one is familiar with the area being sung about. “Speed Of The Night Time” is a well done synth-driven number that would fit into any 80’s movie soundtrack wherein the intent is to convey a protagonist’s brooding or pensiveness.

Chalk “Motorheart” up as a win for THE DARKNESS; a fine collection of easy to enjoy, genuine rock songs. As with most THE DARKENSS albums, “Motorheart” will hook you with the straight-ahead music and/or the idiosyncratically amusing lyrics. It’s not only what fans have come to expect and enjoy, but should also gain THE DARKNESS new fans who might be checking them out for the first time.

Musicianship: 9
Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Welcome Tae Glasgae
2. It’s Love, Jim
3. Motorheart
4. The Power And The Glory Of Love
5. Jussy’s Girl
6. Sticky Siutations
7. Nobody Can See Me Cry
8. Eastbound
9. Speed Of The Nite Time
Justin Hawkins – Lead Vocals, Lead and Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards
Dan Hawkins – Lead and Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Frankie Poullain – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rufus Tiger Taylor – Drums, Backing Vocals  
Record Label: Cooking Vinyl


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