The use of the term "retro" is one that always one that causes me to cringe a bit. It implies that just because something sounds like that which came before it, that somehow a diminished level of creativity was involved in creation. And yes, sometimes that may be true, but in the case of The Darkness, their sound is more byproduct of the fact that they may just actually exist in the early 70's.
Permission To Land, um, landed in 2003 and to be honest, it was pretty hard to tell just what the hell was going on. Grown ass men dressed in white jump suits fighting aliens on a spaceship and sounding like they were on tour opening for T-Rex..it was 2003 dammit, not 1973!
But that didn't seem to matter AT ALL to the guys in The Darkness. No, not only were they content to lovingly recreate the music of their PARENTS youth, they did a damn good job of it. Their is no escaping that Permission To Land is a tasteless, bawdy affair, but that's what makes it so awfully good.
With songs like "Black Shuck", "Love On The Rocks With No Ice" and the unavoidably catchy first single "I Believe In Thing Called Love" the band explored the outer limits of cheese, but somehow managed to tie it all together into one absurdly rocktastic package. In fact the song "Get Your Hands Off My Woman" (see the video below), may be the best song 1974 ever produced if not for it being made in 2003.
That's some serious rock for your ass, and in fact a good enough song that even Ben Folds could cover it and it still rocks your face.
Unfortunately, The Darkness fell pray to the rock and roll excesses that their 70's forefathers all fell prey to (and often sang about) and just couldn't hold it together. There was a second album that was expectedly disappointing, and after that they just sort of faded away.
It's a minor shame because the world could use more bands like this these days. The Darkness served as a reminder that rock could, and maybe should be, dangerous, tasteless, but most of all fun, and just because we're 30 years in the future from when that was the just the de rigeur for bands, there's no reason we can't still go back to that place today.
Or if you prefer