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The Record Vault: The Darkness – One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back

“One Way Ticket to Hell… and Back” is the second studio album from The Darkness. So much for all the talk about diminishing recording budgets, as this album cost £1 million to make.

Released in November 2005.

They even got Roy Thomas Baker, best known for his work with Queen, who is a major influence on The Darkness to produce.

And a change was happening within the band as well.

Bassist Frankie Poullain left the band during the early stages of production on the album, with most bass parts on the album played by guitarist Dan Hawkins.

So the musicians for the album are Justin Hawkins on Lead Vocals / Guitars and Piano,
Dan Hawkins on Guitars and Bass and Ed Graham on Drums.

Richie Edwards would join on Bass for the tour.

One Way Ticket

A flute and a choir starts it all off and then a riff inspired by “Highway To Hell” kicks in.

And the song is an amalgamation of the big hits from the debut, like “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” and “Growing On Me”. A perfect opener.

But the solo felt like a bit of a joke. And it feels like that was the intention.


It’s got this Pink Floyd feel in the Intro and Verses and I was waiting for Justin Hawkins to sing “We don’t need no education”. But that never happened.

And the Chorus has this Gospel Country Rock feel.

Is It Just Me?

The riff is similar to “Too Fast For Love” and other blues rock classics like “Peter Gunn” with a Chorus riff that reminds me of Rick Springfield and “Jessie’s Girl”.

Dinner Lady Arms

Musically, it’s a Def Leppard “Hysteria” like riff, just more up-tempo.

But the Chorus lacks lyrically, because the title is stupid and the hook doesn’t resonate.

Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

A hard rock ballad with a title to challenge Meatloaf.

Hazel Eyes

It starts off with harmony guitars, which feel like they have a backwards effect on em. Then the strumming starts and the song begins. There’s bagpipes, a vocal melody and some high falsettos, which the guitar mimics as a harmony lead.

But it felt rushed and it ends abruptly.


The intro is brilliant, ominous and it builds nicely, until the guitars crash in with distorted chords and lead breaks. Musically, this is my favourite song, even though the Chorus vocal melody is a ball squeezing contest in falsetto highs.


The riff has got that Status Quo 12 bar blues feel. But it’s not a favourite.

English Country Garden

I get what they are trying to do on this by bringing in the weirdness of Queen but it’s a skip.

Blind Man

Another skip.


It’s the B-side to the “One Way Ticket” single and its Rolling Stones groove smashing against AC/DC and Status Quo works for me.

There are horns which gives it a soul rock feel, and Hawkins moves between normal singing in the verses to his falsetto in the Chorus which he even harmonises as a backing vocal.

It’s insane.

Grief Hammer

It’s the other B-side to the “One Way Ticket” single and the Intro gets me interested right away. Musically its pretty good.

And this album while good in certain parts lost me as a fan for almost a decade.

Because at times it felt like a Jack Black “Pick Of Destiny” soundtrack. And I like that soundtrack because it’s Jack Black.

And I guess it a big recording budget doesn’t lead to quality.

I more or less ignored them until “Easter Is Cancelled” in 2019.


8 thoughts on “The Record Vault: The Darkness – One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back

  1. Ken Taylor says:

    I destroyed the first album, so good! Honestly I didn’t even give the second one a run, not sure why. I think and could be wrong the two brothers split after OWTTH, JH did Hot Leg, some AMAZING guitar playing one that album and some very cool songs. DH did Stone Gods, a very solid heavy output, check them out but not even sure if you can stream them

    • True. If I wasn’t doing the record vault reviews of my collection I wouldn’t have had a need to go back to it. But it was cool during the time to have these guys all glammed up, doing triple octave vocal melodies and cliched poses.

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