Atlantic - 2005 - 35 minutes

A joke is always funniest the first time you hear it. The Darkness' stadium-filling debut 'Permission to Land' mixed humour and hard rock with hit-and-miss results - the singles were good enough to sound like they were from the genre's heyday; the rest was a play-it-at-a-party affair that you'd forget by sunrise.

Having set out their stall so comically, the prospect of The Darkness winning over those who dismissed them as a fad with this album was as remote as the upper reaches of singer Justin Hawkins' voice. So the key was to write songs as catchy as the bets bits on their first and damn the begrudgers. On the title track and 'Knockers', that they've done, but the rest of 'One Way Ticket...' proves as unmemorable as its predecessor.

Having been granted their Jim'll Fix It Moment by getting to work with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, The Darkness make the age-old mistake of - apologies if this sounds like one of their lyrics - playing all their trump cards too soon. The standout moments are all in the first half of the album, the second overdoses on pomp and drama with the actual songs relegated to third place.

How bright the future shines is anyone's guess: they've now pretty much made the same album twice, just with more bells and whistles this time 'round. If they decide to tone down their act they run the risk of losing the people who loved them in the first place; stay as they are and a world of Christmas compilations and children's programmes await. Hawkins & co are stuck between a rock and a hard place - and it's a predicament that needs a little more thought than just wondering if the phrase could make a good set of lyrics.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: One Way Ticket - Knockers - Is It Just Me? - Dinner Lady Arms - Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time - Hazel Eyes - Bald - Girlfriend - English Country Garden - Blind Man