A well-rounded album of 80s-inspired party rock

The Darkness only flared so very briefly but when they did they ignited a new interest in good time hard rock that the cynical 90s crushed.

Wrapped in leather and attitude, Taking Dawn is a bunch of young blokes who have picked up the mantle left by Justin Hawkins and his glam-rock revivalists, and Time to Burn is a well-rounded album of 80s-inspired party rock.

Grounded deeply in the heavier end of the hard rock spectrum, Taking Dawn grind out deliciously hooky tunes right from the outset, bristing with good time energy and laden with lyrical shout-outs to their 80s inspirations. “Take Me Away” and “Save Me” have enormous, instantly-catchy Darkness-style choruses, and in fact the first of these could have easily featured on Permission to Land. “Like a Revolution” and the title track owe a debt to Skid Row and late Sunset-era masters like Guns N Roses, but these guys aren’t simple imitators and don’t let their influences overshadow them. The four-part vocal harmonies are brilliant and the lead guitar work of Mikey Cross and singer Chris Babbitt is flashy and effective without ever upstaging the rest of the music.

The back half of Time to Burn isn’t quite so special as the first, with “Fight ’em With Your Rock” just trying a little too hard to be thrashy and the others around it not quite as distinguished as the first six tracks (including the balladic “Close Your Eyes” which is rather good as these things go), but the album lifts again right at the end with a decent and faithful version of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”.

As retro rockers go, Taking Dawn do the business and anyone looking for old school fist-pumping action with huge melodies and modern production could do far, far worse than Time to Burn.

1. Time to Burn
2. Like a Revolution
3. Take Me Away
4. So Loud
5. Save Me
6. Close Your Eyes
7. Godless
8. Fight ‘em With Your Rock
9. Never Enough
10. Endlessly
11. The Chain