Foremost there was Spinal Tap - the good natured and fucking hilarious jab at rock's pomp and general ridiculousness that probably inspired as many bands as it took the piss out of. Better yet it ensured that anything of value was thereafter always turned up to 11. Actually predating the Tap by a year was The Comic Strip mob with their own version of something very metal in the form of Bad News. Vim Fuego (Ade Edmondson), Colin Grigson (Rik Mayall), Den Dennis (Nigel Planer) and Spider Webb (Peter Richardson) spawned two TV shows, at least one Christmas single, an album and a disastrous appearance at Castle Donnington. Funny as fuck though and that album still creeps onto the Londonist playlist from time to time.
Then a few years ago something weird happened - another spoof rock band appeared on the horizon and to everyone's amazement they were taken seriously. Now perhaps the music press were still reeling from the double pronged attack of god-awful nu-metal and the fact that Ozzy was now a reality TV star... whatever the reasoning someone fucked up somewhere and The Darkness were accidentally mistaken for a real band.
The lads in the group did their very best to tell everyone that it was just a bit of a laugh by making videos worthy of a bad French and Saunders sketch and music that had the zero replay factor of any other comedy track - Permission to Land was an album full of Chicken Songs with no need for the Spitting Image puppetry thanks to the Hawkins brothers latex gurning features. And yet like a fat naked emperor in a land of morons The Darkness managed to crawl their way up from the pits of Suffolk and now have the audacity to release a second album.
The first album was given as a gift to this Londonist as a birthday present and received only a single listening before it was thrown through the nearest open window - losing a friendship over that was a small price to pay to get such a bad album out of earshot forever. In the interests of professionalism the second album has been played more than once although there's going to be a similar launching once this has been posted. If you're in SE1 and see a shiny CD on the floor just leave it be...
Telling people that The Darkness is no good is a little like trying to convince people to look through the special sunglasses in John Carpenter's They Live, but for the health and indeed musical IQ of the capital it falls on Londonist to try and make you see sense.
You can tell that this is taking the piss because it kicks off with those pipe playing fellows that used to pop up during The Fast Show - sadly it's all downhill from there as the high-pitched twat of a singer enters stage left and opens his annoying mouth. 'One Way Ticket to Hell And Back' is the kind of thing that certain dads listen to as part of their Jeremy Clarkson Presents: Driving Music To Nod Your Head To compilation cassettes. 'Knockers' is Benny Hill meets The Bay City Rollers, but not in a good way while tracks like 'Is It Just Me' and 'Blind Man' want to bring back memories of Freddie Mercury. Alas Freddie's cremains still have more balls than this bunch of tossers. 'Dinner Lady Arms' is a funny title, but the song itself plays like something you'd see over a Volvo ad. 'Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time' is obviously a plea for someone to nip over to the studio with a bolt gun from the local slaughterhouse and put everyone concerned out of their misery. Seriously, a dog pinned under the wheels of a Ford Escort with a burst stomach sounds better than this. 'English Country Garden' is currently being used in Guantanamo Bay to torture terrorist suspects. 'Hazel Eyes' is simply bizarre - the kind of thing that Gary Moore was chased off the pages of Kerrang for and makes you wish William Wallace was still around to deal with it. 'Bald' is just bollocks while 'Girlfriend' sounds like a rejected Status Quo song played at the wrong speed.
Even as a novelty comedy act The Darkness are far below par - anyone who owns say a Dio album or actually cares about real rock music will be much better off listening to Tenacious D who at least have some fucking heart and the ability to rock your socks off.
The Darkness are simply what happened when Bonnie Tyler sat in the puddle of warm goo that had dripped down Freddie Mercury's leg after a particularly inept session with Rob Halford and then took the almost-to-term pregnancy to be scraped into a bucket with the resulting mess then sealed neatly into CD cases up and down the high street.
Consider yourselves warned!