“The heart wants what the heart wants.” That cliché is often trotted out to describe all manner of incongruous (or dysfunctional) relationships. In this case, it describes my relationship to Permission To Land.
I shouldn’t like it…but I do.
This record has had mountains of press devoted to it. People love it, people hate it. They’ve saved rock & roll, they’re pathetic. Innovators…or “Queen-lite”.
It’s all true. Every last drooling accolade and snotty put down. Pick your side. I don’t care.
All I know is that on the strength of the buzz emanating from that inconclusive war of words, plus a single bizarre appearance on Letterman, my curiosity won out.
Actually, the Late Show appearance is a good place to start. Four butt-ugly guys playing a kind of sorta-metal that could have come right out of 1972. The singer’s voice wavered from growl to shriek to an amusing faux-operatic falsetto. Even with the slightly off-pitch delivery (hey, who am I to judge? I can put up with both Fee Waybill and David Lee Roth!) I was intrigued. Somethin’ elusive and mysterious was setting up camp in a little-used part of my memory.
So now with the CD in hand I set out to nail down what the fuss (this time internal) was about.
They’re not just ripping off Queen. Oh, no. They’re actually making something new out of nearly every rock cliché you can think of. From early metal to classic rock to pop metal to hair bands. It’s all there…Every stupid drug reference, every chunky guitar intro, dual guitar solo, vocal exclamation (“Yayah!”), thudding tom and crashing ending.
I love every dumb minute of it.
It’s like Spinal Tap and Tenacious D put through a blender while the Wayback Machine was running. You don’t have to listen too closely to hear bits of Focus, Deep Purple, Bad Company, Queen, King Diamond, Cheap Trick, AC/DC, Kiss, Boston, Poison and even Bon Jovi.
It’s rock cliché ventriloquism of the highest order. It’s a load of fun.
Saviors of rock? Probably not. But with all of the truly dark stuff going on in the world, The Darkness sure have brightened up a little corner of it.
(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)