The Darkness made a bold claim that rock and roll is no longer with us. According to the Brits, the genre died following an outbreak of homogeneity and yet, their new album Easter is Cancelled completely disproves the theory. Produced by their very own Dan Hawkins, it is packed with the thematic story-telling spectacular. The inspiration behind the title comes from a multi-verse theory in which Jesus is still kicking, quite literally. The Shakespearean tongue of Justin Hawkins illustrates it as “buff Jesus and the three Marys defeating the Romans”.
The opening track ‘Rock and Roll Deserves To Die’ goes through not 1, not 2, but 3 changes in tempo. At times accompanied by sinless angelic vocals, the prophet-like song spices up the album from the very first notes. With the craftsmanship seeping through with each composition, the sound is equally divine in the compilation as it is in the stand-alone scenario. Not only that, the album is filled with hooks that get marinated in vibrant bass, guitar riffs, intense percussions, and piercing vocals. Just listen to ‘Live ‘Til I Die’, an attention grabber from the very first second leaves you with the desire for a motivational pep talk from the four crusaders (accompanied by their music of course). But it’s not all flowers and sunshine, ‘Heart Explodes’ is a rather literal allegory that could actually make the vital organ detonate from the intensity of the drums delivered by Rufus Taylor. They also don’t make it easy to sing along, as us commoners simply cannot hit those glass-smashing high notes.
The band provides just the kind of quality content you’d expect with ‘Deck Chair’. After all, we’ve all lost a precious object at some point in time. The song, worthy its own feature, hits us with the mother of all metaphors, as the object is replaced with something/someone that was taken away. Hence, the deck chair drifting into the distance. Yes, the parallel isn’t the clearest, but it’s all in the lyrics: “This blusterous swine stole something precious from me, that day. What will I sit on, now that my chair’s gone?”. Following the hymn for the deck chair, we now move into the Christian riot section with ‘Easter Is Cancelled’, where somewhat tantric rock switches to metal, nice company for the bedtime prayer. Just take a second and picture it: “I die in vain, I have lived to no avail” followed by the wall-shaking sound waves. All jokes aside, the upbeat nature of the track is just the kind of transition that has always made the band stand out.
Not sparing our hearts any further, The Darkness gets very personal about the core of their emotional support. The staggering declaration: “When I’m trying not to cry, I grab her by the neck and strike her with a plectrum” was made known in ‘We Are The Guitar Man’. With a ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ kind of feel, the knights in shining armor deliver a softer touch with this love song. The attention of the composition is drawn to the rhythm, as the delicate and jaunty tone mixes with the electric guitar on occasion.
The upheaval of the eardrums goes from metal-esque ‘Choke on It’ to ‘Lay Low’, which instrumentally is something along the lines of a hippie cult. Armed with one hell of a bass, Frankie Poullain leads the army to the ‘haven of dreams, they got both the Delevingnes and Rita Ora’. With the hint of psychedelics, and we’re not talking about the genre here, The Darkness summons everyone into the magical place rather successfully. After all, it has been a sweat-breaking battle.
Delivering just the right amount of flare for pants and dramatics The Darkness is left with one happy following. Mixing the soft acoustics and sonically loaded tracks, it is impossible to pick a favorite. Easter is Cancelled is one of those rare finds where you can listen to the whole thing in one sitting and still remember practically every sound. Knowing who this album is coming from you are guaranteed to be paying close attention to the lyrics that will leave you somewhat dumbfounded by the ingeniousness.
As the emotional crusade draws to an end, the charge ends in victory. We can now all sleep in peace, as the 21st-century heroes: Justin & Dan Hawkins, Rufus Taylor, and Frankie Poullain watch over us ensuring the survival of rock and roll.