If Tony Blair, friend to all Americans, fancied false metal, the Darkness would be his band. Their singer has the PM’s upper-crust accent in his tunes’ verses, but lapses inexplicably—and quite frequently—into Tiny Tim glossolalia at those moments when heads begin to bang.
Peddled in Blighty as the labor of “men wot do rock,” most of Permission to Land is actually turned over to magnificently silly love songs. One of them, “Growing on Me,” telegraphs Rick Springfield as the return address: “Jessie’s Girl” is supposed to “Love Somebody.” The tune would be perfect if I didn’t faintly suspect the writer of making a stealthy joke—he could just as well be singing about a genital wart as a lover.
And even when the numbers are at their most ridiculous—e.g., “Givin’ Up Givin’ a Fuck,” a happy fun boogie about the joy of scag—the rhythmic swing is merciless. The feet can’t help but stamp.
On “Get Your Hands Off My Woman (Motherfucker),” a man in falsetto calls his rival out as a cunt. He’s beside himself, but still unconscious that he sounds like someone who would have sand kicked in his face every day.
The Darkness open with a ripped-off Kix riff, and end with a heavy-metal answer to “I’m Not in Love.” Everyone dresses like UFO’s Pete Way is the man of the hour, and for the purists there’s even a Michael Schenker-style guitar solo. A Yankee audience won’t know what to properly make of them—a fault of cultures with no institutional memories, other than those which serve kitsch.