The U.K. rockers’ new challenge, arriving Friday, explores the concept of Jesus averting his crucifixion.
British rockers The Darkness — recognized for his or her flamboyant type, songs with large hooks and choruses, and a singer with a falsetto that rivals Barry Gibb’s — first broke by way of in 2003 with their smash debut, Permission to Land (Atlantic). Though their 2005 follow-up, One Manner Ticket to Hell …and Again, did not stay as much as the success of Permission to Land and so they quickly broke up, they returned in 2012 with Sizzling Desserts and have been rocking steadily ever since.
On Oct. 4, singer-guitarist Justin Hawkins, his brother Dan Hawkins (rhythm guitar), bassist Frankie Poullain and drummer Rufus Tiger Taylor will ship their first album in two years, Easter Is Cancelled, on Cooking Vinyl. The file is an idea album — though Justin admits, “It’s hard to say why we did a concept album. There’s lots of reasons why we shouldn’t have done that, but we just heard a theme emerging in the songs.”
Easter Is Cancelled imagines a universe through which Jesus didn’t die, however fought again in opposition to the Romans. A considerably controversial album cowl depicting the Crucifixion (it was banned on streaming platforms in some international locations abroad) options the band, with Justin as Jesus, making such a stand. The thought sprung from The Darkness having conversations concerning the multiverse principle, which is the idea that there are various universes that every one exist concurrently.
In a type of realities, Justin explains that on the day of the Crucifixion, Jesus declares, “‘Fuck that! I’m going to use my supernatural abilities to stop this from happening!’ And then from that point, what kind of world is it? Is there global warming? Is there war? There’s a whole realm of possibilities just in that one reality, so it’s an intimate and wonderful thing to explore.”
He did an Web seek for “buff Jesus” and located a portray by fantasy artist Boris Vallejo that impressed the album cowl that he describes as “Buff Jesus and the three Marys defeating the Romans.” “Of course, there’s going to be people saying, ‘Blasphemy!’” concedes Justin. “But nobody’s denying the existence of Christ or using his name in vain. We’re talking about multiverse theories. Science fiction. We’re allowed to do that…” He pauses. “I think. Actually, I don’t know what the rules are. But the thing is, if you do anything, somebody’s going to get upset about it. So you might as well do what you want.”
The title of Easter Is Cancelled’s first single, “Rock and Roll Deserves to Die,” may come as a shock from a hard-rock band, but it surely had an inauspicious starting. Justin recollects, laughing, “We were looking at a video of some new rock band, and it was just formulaic. There was nothing original going on — nothing boundary-challenging in it — so they were pretty annoying to watch. So my brother was looking at it, and he said, ‘Well, you know what? Rock ’n’ roll deserves to die!’”
However contemplating how Justin feels concerning the state of the style in the present day, that angle isn’t so far-fetched, both. “I do love music, and I long for it to be better,” he says. “But in a lot of cases, it isn’t. I always want rock to be better because when I was growing up, it was fucking awesome. It was the most exciting genre, the most challenging — there was androgyny, there was bawdiness in the lyrics, there was emotions, there was makeup, there was all that stuff going on, and it was really exciting.”
He continues, “Nothing new has happened within my cherished genre for a long time, and that makes me sad. And angry. Sometimes you hear a retro band come along and they sound great because they’re doing what we’ve all grown up loving, and it’s difficult to be excited about it because it has superficial charm and it’s nostalgic, and there’s nothing underneath it to make it really sing to your heart, you know? The way you want it to and the way it used to. So what we’re saying is, ‘We’re throwing down the gauntlet,’ and the biggest irony is that The Darkness is the band that’s doing it!”
The video for “Rock and Roll Deserves to Die” options The Darkness performing for an uptight viewers, rocking so exhausting it blows the tops of the musicians’ hair off. At one level, the band is requested to decrease the amount, which units it off to rock louder. Watch the video under:
Justin says, “I just love the idea that sound creates enough force to remove a wig. Anything that involves baldness really appeals to me. When we had the bald caps on, I questioned why I had done so many things to stimulate my hair follicles, because it’s really liberating. When the video came out, I have a friend who called up and said, ‘The bald brethren thanks you for your support.’ I was more worried that it might offend bald people than religious types; but there’s a whole group of men out there who have chosen virility over follicles.”
Though it’s an idea album, every of the songs on Easter Is Cancelled stands nicely by itself. From the primary single to the ballad “Heart Explodes,” and on by way of songs like “Heavy Metal Lover, “Choke On It” and “We Are the Guitar Men,” the album crosses sounds acquainted to classic-rock listeners (Deep Purple, Electrical Mild Orchestra, Aerosmith) and blends them with the band’s trademark squealing leads and high-pitched choruses, with nice outcomes.
Justin explains, “Among the writing was immediate as a result of I was so targeted on this album that even when it was a case of getting to take a seat down and write one thing, it got here actually shortly. One of many challenges for us is with the preparations and maintaining them brief, as a result of we spend lots of time engaged on the songs to carry them to their pure conclusion after which we spend a very long time slicing it again. So entire sections and entire songs have been deleted, to be recycled later for… Easter Is Again On!” he says, laughing.
For example, the music “Deck Chair” took place when Poullain was enjoying a riff he had sitting round for some time on a nylon string guitar, and Justin began singing alongside to it. “I was channeling being on a boat with my brother and my sister and my dad and my granddad, and I was just pissing about and annoying my granddad, and my deck chair fell in the water, and I had nothing to sit on,” he says. “I think that’s a really good metaphor for a relationship that you think is disposable, but then you realize after you’ve disposed of it how much you needed it.”
Justin thinks album nearer “We Are the Guitar Men” ought to be thought-about “the big song on the record. [But] not everybody agrees with me, even in the band, actually.” He describes it as beginning with “dramatic mandolins into a Bee Gees verse into an ELO chorus into ABBA into Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens doing the ‘Top Gun Anthem’ for the middle eight into Whitesnake for the outro.”
Justin provides, “The reason why it happens like that is because that’s what the song needed. We really explored every avenue, and that’s what we arrived at. It was really difficult and challenging, but I’m really proud of it and it’s something that I will always stand by. So that’s my favorite song on the album and my favorite song we’ve ever done, probably. Definitely the most original. If that was the song that people used to define us, I’d be over the moon.”