The Darkness, who had one hugely successful album in England in the early 2000s, were essentially attempting a more over-the-top version of Tenacious D’s schtick…a parody of the ridiculous flamboyance of 80s Hair Metal. The difference is that while Jack Black was hardly a credible Metal vocalist (indeed, that is meant to be a major part of the joke), he was still actually a listenable singer. This band, on the other hand, featured a lead singer whose agonizingly out-of-control falsetto ruins any comic value their attempted parody might have had. Intentional awfulness for the sake a humor is all well and good, but being intended as a parody is not a blank check to be unlistenable, and making your audience’s ear bleed is pretty much never a pleasurable experience for them. There might have been some potential in the band’s style of parody…they certainly had better instrumental chops than Tenacious D, and they did seem to have a knack for making over-the-top music videos that might have served them well if they had come out a decade or so later. But while stupidity can be played off as comedic, visceral annoyance is much harder to make enjoyable, no matter how much irony you wrap it in. It’s probably not a coincidence that this band was a success at the height of the hipster era, and I have to wonder how many of their listeners actually enjoyed their music.
Verdict: This singer’s voice is pure punishment, so I don’t think any other factor really matters.