Who's afraid of The Darkness?

THEY have got Permission To Land and outlandish rockers The Darkness are set to crash in to the top of the UK album charts.But the shaggy-haired quartet from Lowestoft are destined for a battle royale with soul diva Beyonce for the coveted number one spot.

THEY have got Permission To Land and outlandish rockers The Darkness are set to crash in to the top of the UK album charts.

But the shaggy-haired quartet from Lowestoft are destined for a battle royale with soul diva Beyonce for the coveted number one spot.

Permission to Land - the band's debut CD - was hovering at number two in the midweek charts, second only to the singing star touted as the new Tina Turner.

"I have to admit, I'm not really a fan of her's - didn't she used to be in Destiny's whatsit? Her last one was quite good, wasn't it?" asked a confused Dan Hawkins, lead guitarist with The Darkness.


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"I don't think we can really compete, to be honest. But our album wasn't supposed to be this big this quickly - we haven't released our best singles yet. They are going to be absolutely massive."

Dan, 26, and his brother Justin, 27, the group's catsuit-wearing frontman, have soared to fame through their band's stomping stadium rock, reminiscent of their all-time heroes AC/DC and Queen.

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"I haven't bought a record for 10 years, but I would buy this one if I hadn't made it - I love it and I'm still listening to it," said Dan.

"Every song is capable of being a single and it's difficult to choose. It's a classic rock debut album and the next one is going to be even better."

Since they burst on the scene with their debut single I Believe In A Thing Called Love, The Darkness have become one of the most talked about bands in Britain.

Music fans either love them or hate them - and their talent for overblown rock numbers together with outrageous showmanship means they are the new darlings of the rock scene.

"I don't think we're a sign of the times - we write good songs and we are an interesting band. There's not that much else out there at the moment. We're changing the course of things and opening the door for others," said Dan.

They trace their origins back to Millennium Eve, when the older Hawkins brother pulled off an eye-opening rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody in a karaoke competition at their auntie's pub in Gillingham, Norfolk.

Dan and Justin, who went to Kirkley High School, recruited drummer and fellow Lowestoft export Ed Graham, 26, and moustachioed Scottish bassist Frankie Poullain, the son of a pirate in the West Indies.

The four became The Darkness and, after two years of relentless gigging and songwriting, they believe they have reached their rightful place - on the verge of greatness.

"It's like Beatlemania at the moment. We had a store signing at HMV and more people turned up than they did for Madonna," said Dan.

"The crazy thing is that things don't suddenly change. You get up with a hangover, your flat's still a mess and you still haven't paid that electricity bill."

The Darkness scraped the top 40 with their second single Get Your Hands Off My Woman in February and went straight in to the charts at number 11 with follow-up Growing On Me last month.

They plan to re-release I Believe In A Thing Called Love next month as the next phase of their plan for world domination.

Fresh from performances at the Glastonbury and Download festivals, they are also promising to blow Robbie Williams off the stage at Knebworth Park for three nights at the start of next month.

Justin insisted it was "in the band's DNA" to play the prestigious park - where rock greats Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones have gone before.

"Treading those hallowed boards will have as much emotional impact for me as stepping out on to the pitch at St James's Park has for a Geordie soccer enthusiast," he added.

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