Like it or not, Christmas has come early. And this year’s surprise present, rather than a lump of coal, is the infinitely more glittery The Darkness. That innuendo laden glam rock outfit, who somersaulted their way into our hearts back in 2003, have released a surprise seasonal entry with their Christmas track I Am Santa. If the annual overkill on their last offering, Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), wasn’t enough for you, fear not little girls and boys because this latest song is another anthemic tinsel fest in spandex!
It may also be about as bewildering as a sleigh ride in August. Though no one ever accused The Darkness of taking things too seriously, I Am Santa steps into territory so tongue in cheek I’m not sure if they’ve come full circle?! Accompanied by a retro looking video to match the band’s 80’s throwback sound, the VHS grain and MTV worthy set up is so close to the mark that I’m wondering if this isn’t something that my mum recorded off the TV back in the day?
Having seen in this year with a new line up and a new album, Last Of Our Kind, The Darkness are seeing it out with a bang. Festooned in tinsel with gift wrapped guitars, Justin’s trademark locks appear to be shorn and sunglasses protect a face that I suspect seems a little older than I remember. But the energy and enthusiasm is unabated despite the elapsed decade, and the legs are still holding their own in those spandex.
The track itself is complete to a shade with jingle bells and chimes, and a stadium beat to accompany the chugging guitar riff. Wailing guitar solos jump in between Hawkin’s recognisable lyrical efforts, descrying chestnuts and Ferrero Rocher. Reminiscent of that moment in Love Actually, when they try to squeeze one too many syllable into the line “and if you really love Christmas” – but with a little less “ouch”.
So far this isn’t sounding too far and away from the standard, if cheesy, Christmas fare. It’s a solid track, as the band do what they do best, but it’s the inimitable touches that make The Darkness bewildering. Hawkins interpretive dancing as a reindeer, the sexy Mrs Santa who is a little too familiar with the reindeer, not to mention the chorus refrain of “I’m so hungry, I’m so hungry for you!”. The concept of being Santa (bringer of joy) only comes in a lot later, accompanied by a rather creepy voice over of Santa thanking new drummer, Rufus Tiger Taylor, for the cookies.
Launching the finale with that surprise proclamation; that Justin Hawkins really is Santa, at least the video answers one question. For the rest of it; we’re just as confused as you are.