If you were only a fan of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” the mega-hit single from Permission To Land, the debut album by The Darkness, then all I can say is that you’ve missed some incredible hard rock ‘n’ roll since then. To that end, their new album, Last of Our Kind, would be a great place to get reacquainted with them. And where “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” was something of a novelty song, each track on Last Of Our Kind is grade A, the work of a band firing on all cylinders. It’s the sort of album that many reunited hair bands have tried and failed to write with its larger than life choruses, killer guitar solos and massive thrills.
The album cover shows some kind of pilot, perhaps even an alien, in what I assume is outer space. And it’s easy to picture the that pilot coming to life and blasting other pilots out of the sky when you listen to the onslaught of an opening number, “Barbarian,” the music of which is like Queens Of The Stone Age on steroids, covering Judas Priest. A prime fist-pumping number, to say the least. “Open Fire” follows and is like old Iron Maiden, when they actually played their songs fast, rather than drawing them out for 15 plodding minutes. The title track, “Last of Our Kind” is more like classic rock and includes some acoustic guitars before it gets heavy. Hawkins unleashes his manic falsetto during the chorus but he chooses his moments carefully on this album, not doing so much of it that the songs become a novelties that you can’t take seriously.
The album slows down considerably with “Wheels of the Machine,” which is essentially a power ballad and calls to mind several hair bands; not a bad thing at all. It’s like Cinderella and Motley Crue wrote a song together. “One call connected to another / We are depending on each other,” Hawkins sings as it begins.
“Mighty Wings” is one of the strongest songs on the record. It starts out with synth, surprisingly, but then the guitars come at you like razor blades while the drums blast away sonorously. Things slow down when Hawkins starts singing but even then it’s still hard rock. The chorus, however, is more like classic Queen and that’s when the synth returns.
If you’re a hard rock or heavy metal fan then Last of Our Kind is one of the best gifts you could give yourself this year. It’s stadium-sized. It’s bursting with energy. It’s bloody passionate. It’s The motherfucking Darkness. Rejoice.