Is this random enough for you? Most people wouldn't peg me as a fan of The Darkness. Technically, I'm only a fan of their first album. 2003's Permission to Land caught the music press off guard, and for a fleeting moment, retro-rock sounded fresh. It wasn't cool to use dueling guitar harmonies in nearly every song, which is why I enjoyed hearing "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" on the radio. Inevitably, retro-rock wore out its welcome. I still don't see the appeal in bands such as Jet and The Strokes. In my opinion, The Darkness brought more to the table than just long hair and nostalgia; they brought memorable songs.

Permission to Land is teeming with busy riffs, bouncy melodies and ridiculous falsetto courtesy of Justin Hawkins. You've probably heard of these guys, but if you haven't, try to imagine AC/DC's matter-of-fact proto-metal lying athwart of Queen's flamboyance. The Darkness also borrows silky solos and intergalactic imagery from Boston. When you combine all of those influences, the end result is fun and highly energetic. This is a compact disc that needs to be played in a moving vehicle.

My favorite tracks are the explosive "Get Your Hands Off My Woman," the catchier-than-thou "Love is Only a Feeling" and the bottom-heavy "Love On the Rocks With No Ice." It wasn't my intention to write an unconditionally glowing review, though. Frankly, half of the tunes on Permission to Land strike me as stale. "Givin' Up" and "Stuck in a Rut" are interchangeable. "Black Shuck" rocks, but it's awfully generic for an opener. If I didn't love the other half of this album so much, I would be forced to give it a measly rating. But I do, so I won't.

On a related note, The Darkness reunited earlier this year and they plan on recording a follow-up to 2006's One Way Ticket to Hell and Back. I'm typing in falsetto, by the way.

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