Album review: The Darkness – Motorheart

On the scale of rock’n’roll silliness, The Darkness take seventh album Motorheart all the way to 11…

Album review: The Darkness – Motorheart
Steve Beebee

Oh how we chortled in October 2019 when The Darkness chose Easter Is Cancelled as the title for their sixth album. Little did we know that a global pandemic would cause this portentous, falsetto-led prediction to effectively come true. The Darkness – British rock’s adorable panto dames – were right all along, and we ain’t been chortling much since.

Until, perhaps, right now. Motorheart is without doubt the silliest album The Darkness have ever made. Everything Justin Hawkins sings sounds desperately sincere, as if borne of nothing but authentic emotion, and when this apparent candour is applied to the title-track’s subject matter – having sex with robots – it’s clear that The Darkness are mostly here to make us smile.

The album opens with clan-rousing bagpipes and a warrior-class rocker called Welcome Tae Glasgae. Like recent single It’s Love, Jim, it’s riff-filled and joyfully thrusting – and, obviously, completely weird. The intriguing specimen that is Nobody Can See Me Cry features some genuinely dazzling musicianship, and there’s a compelling rock disco vibe underpinning Speed Of The Nite Time. While this isn’t likely to become anyone’s favourite Darkness album, it’s very much the album we need in our lives right now. Eastbound, for example, is a hoot, detailing Justin’s plans for a pub crawl in his home town of Lowestoft. The landlord at The Triangle Tavern will be thrilled to learn this is where the band plan to end up.

Spoof rock legends Spinal Tap taught us many things – the value of punctuality, that there’s nothing wrong with being sexy, and that without caution your music could cross the fine line between clever and stupid. On Motorheart The Darkness’s timekeeping is impeccable and with songs about shagging droids their virility proven beyond doubt. As for staying on the right side of that fine line, give the boys credit; two outta three ain’t bad.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Queen, The Struts, Aerosmith

Motorheart is released on November 19 via Cooking Vinyl.

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