The Darkness – Pinewood Smile (Cooking Vinyl) 

Genre – Hard rock

A band that split the vote, The Darkness are cast as the saviours of British rock and roll by some, a gimmick by others. Justin Hawkins and co. are back with album number five, and it fits both sides of the bill – the hard rock mayhem and the jokey, cheesy antics they’ve become known for.

Regardless of which way you view The Darkness, there is absolutely no denying that they know how to entertain. Their live shows are exhilarating; energy driven experiences and Pinewood Smile encapsulates that.

Opening with the album’s lead single All The Pretty Girls, The Darkness fly out of the traps with their trademark electric sounds, flooded with solos, an array of vocal pitches and a brilliantly catchy chorus.

This glorious, hard-rockin’, autobiographical anthem intellectually examines the fact that when you’re a rock star you get a lot of attention from ladies and discusses the difficulties attached – you poor thing…

Throughout their career, The Darkness have consistently displayed an ability to mix hard rock and pop. They’ve fully grasped the hair metal song writing structure, and given it a heavier twist. This is perfectly portrayed in Solid Gold. The track is hair metal personified with its simple riffs, basic lyrics and big hooks.

Southern Trains sees the other side of The Darkness. The side that is much more hard rock/metal, but it’s still laced with the light-hearted lyrics that makes this band so loveable. With lines like ‘there are fucking arseholes everywhere’ pouring out of speakers in Hawkins’ squeal, it does make you wonder how much The Darkness have grown up/developed their song writing ability from the days of I Believe In A Thing Called Love.

Despite the pantomime that is prevalent throughout this record, there are some stand out tracks like Buccaneers of Hispaniola and Lay Down With Me, Barbara. These Lothario painting tracks are similarly autobiographical like All The Pretty Girls, as Hawkins claims he is a difficult man to love, but women have no problem doing so…

Overall,  Pinewood Smile is an entertaining rock album. It’s classically Darkness, and is more fun than musically inspiring. Fans of The Darkness will lap it up, and it will go down well on stage, but it will certainly not see them acquire any new fans!

RUSHONROCK RATED – 6/10 All filler, no killer!


The Rolling Stones – From The Vault Sticky Fingers: Live At The Fonda Theatre 2015 (Eagle Rock Entertainment)

A welcome return from Arcane Roots with Melancholia Hymns

The LaFontaines deliver power electric social commentary with Common Problem