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Darkness: One Way Ticket to Hell ... and Back

Darkness: One Way Ticket to Hell ... and Back

Release Date:2005
Genre:Hard Rock/Metal

By Anthony Miccio | Posted 1/4/2006

The idea of pop-metal throwback the Darkness hitting multiplatinum in this country sounds like a stretch, but hopefully the right people will find out about One Way Ticket to Hell . . . and Back—namely women who miss tossing their hair to hard guitars and the men who love them. On the debut, Permission to Land, the arrangements were too basic to hold up when the songwriting lagged. With the help of ’70s Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, the band now hits a sound as deliciously excessive as its spirit.

The title track doesn’t stray far from the debut’s template, with Justin Hawkins shrieking about his toxic travails over a hard strut foxy enough for any Aquanet addict. But as the album progresses it’s clear the band is even more playful than before. “Dinner Lady Arms” would make both Desmond Child and Freddie Mercury proud, and “Hazel Eyes” is the best jig you’ll hear all year. The ballads have been given orchestral flourishes, keeping “Seemed Like a Good Idea at The Time” from being the let’s-get-a-hot-dog bore it might be live.

The abundance of digi-harmonies and echoplex effects might be too giggly for 2005 rock fans to take seriously, but the meat of the difference between the Darkness and Nickelback is the band’s refusal to stray from open-hearted declarations of affection. “I love you so much!” goes the chorus of “Girlfriend,” arresting even if it wasn’t nestled in string-festooned disco-metal. Anybody who chooses “I just love what you’ve done to your hair, oh yeah!” over “you’re like my favorite damn disease” will happily accept this alternate reality.

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