Having released Permission to Land, one of the best Rock albums of all time, back in 2003, The Darkness have set themselves a very hard standard to live up, to so any new release will be greeted with some excitement.
By Chris Jones
Their fifth offering Pinewood Smile rises to the occasion at times, but somehow it just lacks that killer track, and has a few filler tracks which it could perhaps get away with if it were longer, but at 10 tracks and a running time of 36 minutes it is slightly disappointing. There are 4 extra tracks on the deluxe version which does beg the question, with such a short running length why aren’t they on the standard release?
All the Pretty Girls starts off the album really well and it’s only 2 minutes until we are into the first guitar solo, and when this is followed by Buccaneers of Hispaniola, a swashbuckler that should really come to life on stage, we’re really getting excited as another classic is being unveiled.
Considering that Solid Gold is in Hawkins’ words about “the turbulent nature of the music industry”, we were expecting something a bit feistier than the bland safe tune that goes with it. However, this is followed by the best track on the album Southern Trains, which is certainly not radio friendly so don’t expect to hear it unless you get the album. We hit repeat twice before moving on. We’re not really fans of the rock ballad, so maybe Why don’t the Beautiful Cry will be some fan’s favourite song on here but we’re afraid it sounded a bit formulaic, which is not something we thought we would ever say about The Darkness. Japanese Prisoner of Love starts with a great riff but then it seems like the band are trying too hard to be Queen, falling flat on its face later.
None of the last 4 tracks really worked for us and Stampede of Love ends the album with a country tinged whimper, rather than a bang to whet the appetite for album 6. If we could score the album as 2 separate sides then side 1 would score 8/10, but tracks 6-10 only 2-10. So our suggestion is buy the vinyl rather than the CD, and stick with side one.
Pinewood Smile by The Darkness will be released on Wednesday 6 October 2017.