Sometimes breakups are a good thing. In 2006, screeching vocalist Justin Hawkins bailed on the upstart phenomena The Darkness. What has risen from the ashes is something much better, Stone Gods. Duties have shifted in the band with Richie Edwards doing vocals and manning the rhythm guitar. Toby MacFarlaine was brought in on bass. Dan Hawkins is now the lead guitarist. Ed Graham remains on drums, but due to ill health, has been temporarily replaced by ex-Bush drummer Robin Goodridge for the Summer tour. Another thing that remains is some fine melodic hard rock.
The single most notable attribute of 'Silver Spoons & Broken Bones' is the absence of those obnoxious shrieking Justin Hawkins vocals. Richie Edwards' raspy voice is extremely well suited to Stone Gods style. Check out 'Knight Of The Living Dead' or 'Burn The Witch' and you will be convinced. Another notable characteristic of 'Silver Spoons' is how easily the band mixes different styles in a completely believable way. The two aforementioned songs and 'Defend Or Die' near metal proportions. While on the other extreme 'Magdalene Street' and 'Lazy Bones' are simple melodic rockers with acoustic flavors. Yet, most of the album is characterized by melodic hard rock. 'Start Of Something' is quintessential melodic rock. If the opening to 'You Brought A Knife To A Gunfight' sounds familiar, it may be because the guitar riffs sound curiously similar to UFO's 'Natural Thing.' And there' some truly funny, tongue-in-cheek songs here. 'I'm With The Band' is a pleasing and simple number which invokes some excellent imagery of the rock and roll life. 'Oh Whereo My Beero' would be completely hilarious only for it's lyrical content except for the great vocal arrangements and innovative guitar work. I was only disappointed by one track on the album: 'Don't Drink The Water' is enormously boring.
Frankly, Stone Gods is better in character than The Darkness ever would be. Sure, that other band surprised and encouraged us, but Stone Gods have the chops to deliver better rock in a more stable context. 'Silver Spoons & Broken Bones' is a fresh start and a good listen. Very recommended.
- Craig Hartranft
Rising from the ashes of The Darkness is Stone Gods. And we're better for it. The music is strong and satisfying and gone are those annoying screeching vocals. Stone Gods show great promise and make you easily forget that other band. What was it's name?