The beginning of last week saw the momentous occasion of The Darkness’ first full release since their somewhat lacklustre reformation, a moment some will have dreaming about for years and others dreaded. The band have always been somewhat of a musical Marmite, with both a strong and devoted fan-base as well as an ever-present cloud of criticism from those who couldn’t decipher the squealing and shrieking. In my case, ‘A Permission to Land’ was a bit of a musical milestone in regards to what I listened to throughout my teenage years and means that luckily for this review, I sit firmly in the fan camp.
‘Keep Me Hangin’ On’ is a track that immediately leaps from the album ‘Hot Cakes’ with it’s delicious blend of Seventies’ Southern Rock and Eighties’ Glam-pop. The creeping intro gives little away as it tickles in, nondescript in it’s style, but there isn’t long to wait and within seconds the first chorus explodes and lets the listener know exactly what they’re in for, a simplistic and catchy classic rock song. The track, and the album in general, shows a more mature approach to their music, they appeared to have cooled the tension within the band and in-turn cooled their musical style, turning instead to a far more tranquillized genre which, in parts, borders on Country. The song pulsates throughout and manages to impress without setting anything alight stylistically, somewhat thin verses are covered well by swirling riffs and a brilliant hook leaving the song feeling like the audial equivalent of an easy yet enjoyable rom-com. ‘Keep Me Hangin’ On’ encapsulates an exciting new time for The Darkness and indicates that the band may have done what once seemed impossible and have leapt from the drowning ship of novelty onto the comparatively safer sands of accomplished, concentrated rock music.