swans - filth album cover on fuzzcrush.xyz

Neutral, 1983

Swans

Filth

★★☆☆☆

skywave took the sun album art

Cherry Coated Records

Skywave

Took the Sun (1998)

★★★☆☆

Every once in a while, they stumble upon a perfect combination of cooing background vocals, rumbling ‘50s school dance bass lines and frenetic punk riffs.

isn't anything album cover

Creation Records, CRELP 040

My Bloody Valentine

Isn’t Anything (1988)

★★★★★

MBV abandons its twinkle-eyed twee-pop influences for a more nonchalant, druggy coolness nicked from the Jesus and Mary Chain and Love and Rockets.

danse macabre album cover

Saddle Creek, 2003

The Faint

Danse Macabre

★★★★☆

Blithely dismissed as amateurish dance-punk by some, The Faint nonetheless carved out a distinctive niche for themselves with a brand of paranoid, dystopian synth pop from their home base of sleepy Omaha, NE.

the kills - keep on your mean side album cover

Rough Trade, 2003

The Kills

Keep on Your Mean Side

★★★★☆

Outlaw rock 'n roll split evenly between lo-fi guitar crunch and lonesome bandit blues

bloweyelashwish album cover 1993 Projekt scott cortez

Projekt, 1993

Loveliescrushing

Bloweyelashwish

★★★★★

Deep in the American southwest and far from the Seattle alt-rock gold rush, Scott Cortez creates a uniquely wordless, gothic reinterpretation of My Bloody Valentine’s otherworldly sound, coupled with an irritating penchant for Cocteau Twins’ nonsensical song titles

dirty beaches - badlands cover - fuzzcrush review

Zoo, 2011

Dirty Beaches

Badlands

★★★☆☆

Badlands exhumes the exquisite corpse of an America that never truly existed. Think Route 66, neon-lit roadside diners and American Bandstand. The sound is immediate, and the atmosphere unmistakeable.

vinyl poster image HBO

Permission to Land album cover

Atlantic Records, 2003

The Darkness

Permission to Land

★★★★☆

There's an unpretentiously honest feel-good factor here that separates them from contemporaries like Jet

April 19, 2020

REVIEW

There were lots of things that should have gone against The Darkness on their debut. Guitarist and singer Justin Hawkins‘ teeth were something out of an Austin Powers film. Their on-stage getup would make Def Leppard blush. They played muscular rock ‘n roll but every member looked like a skinny nerd who’d rather be listening to Pavement than doing a split while playing a masturbatory guitar solo.

And yet, they pull it all off brilliantly. In addition to being inordinately dedicated to their gimmick, The Darkness are masterful musicians who know exactly what tweaks to make on their hard rock blueprint to create crossover hits. While “Growing on Me”‘s humorous entendre-ridden lyrics are about contracting an STI, the vocalization and incredible guitar solos would make it right at home in Van Halen‘s back catalog. Hawkins’ Freddie Mercury-inspired falsetto works just as well on a tender ballad like “Love is Only a Feeling” as it does on a barn-stomper like “Get Your Hands Off my Woman”, whose riff was lifted from Nirvana‘s “Stay Away”.

By design, there was no ‘edge’ to their sound, nor did they need one. The lead single (and #1 UK hit) “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” had a Weezer-esque innocence that combined strongly with insanely catchy choruses and solos. There’s an unpretentiously honest feel-good factor that permeates the entire album, and separates them from contemporaries like Jet that tried to tap a similar vein but ended up becoming a douchier Oasis.

They simply don’t make rock ‘n roll like this anymore. I mean, they were massively anachronistic as it was in 2003, when the Strokes and the Libertines were the be and end all of guitar rock. But the UK loves themselves some self-aware pastiche, and The Darkness’ over-the-top flamboyance and irreverent attitudes make a very fun listen. Highly recommended.