Dan Hawkins picks his top tracks from Easter Is Cancelled, the new album from The Darkness

The lead guitarist picks his favourite riffs, solos and tones from the British rockers’ brand-new album.

The Darkness

Image: Simon Emmett

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It’s 16 years since The Darkness’ debut album, Permission To Land, catapulted the Lowestoft glam-metal revivalists to unlikely global stardom. The band has been through plenty of twists, turns, departures and reunions since then, but now they’re back with their sixth studio album, Easter Is Cancelled. We sat down with the band’s founder member and guitarist, Dan Hawkins, to find out his favourite new guitar tracks from the album.

How Can I Lose Your Love

“This track is split into three sections. I like that the dynamics are really extreme. The verses were played on my 2000 Les Paul standard through a 1987x Marshall with the heavy section at the end of the verses switching to a Friedman Smallbox fronted with a TS9. The jangly chorus section starts with my 1964 Epiphone Casino through my 1964 AC30 and returns to the 1987x for the way out. The outro is a mix of Smallbox and 1987x.”

Easter Is Cancelled

“I wanted to have a kind of Queen/Rush/Maiden vibe on this one. Opening guitar riffs are myself on my usual Les Paul standard and Justin on an SG (left and right speaker, respectively). I’m on 100-watt Marshall Super Lead and he’s through an AC30HW head and 4×12 Marshall cab. I then deploy the handwired myself on pre-chorus for some 12-string SG jangle fun and then I stuck with stereo-tracked AC30HW fronted with a Tube Screamer (TS9) for the choruses. Love that howling AC30 rhythm sound on this one! Justin’s solos were also through the AC30, played on a 2003 black Les Paul Custom.”

Heart Explodes

“This song is a pretty good demonstration of the versatility of the 50-watt 1987x Marshall. All of the electric guitars on this song are through that, with only the volume pot on the guitar changing. I think I whacked a delayed TS-808 original and put it through a 2×12 cab for the solo section. Acoustic duties were on my 2000 Gibson J-200.”

Live Till I Die

“This is the usual Les Paul Standard through Marshall 1959SL on everything, apart from the heavier sections where it switches from mono to stereo, double-tracked with a TS9 on the front end. The chorus features added jangle from a second-fret capo’d Casino and 1964 AC30, which also takes care of the middle-eight section. Justin’s huge lead sound at the end is through AC30HW/TS setup once again.”

Deck Chair

“Unusually, I played bass on this. I borrowed our FOH engineer’s 60s Shaftesbury short-scale bass. I think the strings on there are from the 60s, too, as there is no life left in them – which I love! I love playing bass and I’m looking forward to playing this one live.”

Easter Is Cancelled by The Darkness is out now on Cooking Vinyl.

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