Picks and Pans Review: Permission to Land

UPDATED 11/10/2003 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/10/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

The Darkness

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Do not adjust your calendar; it really isn't 1987, despite the spandex-and-hair-spray metal of this band born in a karaoke bar. When guitarist Dan Hawkins saw his brother Justin singing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" with full-on Freddie Mercury regalia and flamboyance, an idea was born. The result is this debut full of punk-spiked mimicry of '80s big-hair bands like Mötley Crüe. Bold guitar licks back Justin's Steven Tyler-esque falsetto howling on head-banging, would-be anthems like "Growing on Me," on which he occasionally delves into a deadpan cool reminiscent of Weezer's Rivers Cuomo. The rest—"Get Your Hands Off My Woman," with its lyric "Octoped, you've got six hands too many," and "Love on the Rocks with No Ice"—is a series of well-executed sonic jokes. This sound was dead; it should have the decency to stay buried.

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