We went record shopping with The Darkness and this is what happened
One record store, one band and £50: what could go wrong?
The world is in a cataclysmic state. The Middle East is a powder keg ready to explode. The lunatics have taken over the asylum in Washington, Moscow and Pyongyang. The global thermostat is busted, the ice caps are melting, and we’d all best start inflating our rubber water wings and learn how to paddle.
The Darkness are furious at this state of affairs. So furious, in fact, that they’ve channelled their rage into a track on their new album Pinewood Smile. The song in question focuses its anger on the crumbling transport infrastructure of this once-great nation. Its title? Southern Trains.
“Me and Dan were up in London for some of the writing process and it was the most dreadful experience,” says the band’s frontman Justin Hawkins. “There was so much arse-clownery involved. We managed to get seats, then the carriage filled up until it was packed. Dan was trying to eat his burrito with some commuter’s bum literally in his face. And the place just stank.”
Such hot-button concerns are reflected in the song’s verité lyrics: ‘It’s a journey into pure despair… I can smell piss and shit in the air.’ So is it a metaphor for geo-political turmoil?
“No,” says Hawkins. “It’s just about how shit Southern Trains are.”
No matter what’s going on outside your window, the world is a better place with The Darkness in it. Pinewood Smile is the quartet’s third album since their 2011 reunion and, like their best records, it fizzes with an alchemical mix of large-testicled chutzpah, arch self-deprecation and blockbusting tunes.