THE DARKNESS frontman Justin Hawkins has apologized to anyone who has been offended by the cover artwork for the band's latest studio album, "Easter Is Cancelled". Released on October 4 via via Cooking Vinyl, the CD artwork features what appears to be members of THE DARKNESS beating down Roman guards as Jesus — played by Justin — attempts to escape from the bonds of crucifixion.
Asked about suggestions that the cover's inclusion of weapons could be seen to glamorize knife violence — which has reached a record high in England and Wales — Hawkins told Sky News: "What we were trying to do was interfere with biblical iconography and the sources we studied to assemble that image was from hundreds of years ago. We didn't recognize that it might be insensitive in the current climate. We saw it as something as escapism in talking about an imagined scenario from an alternate reality, and if we have offended anybody, all we can do is apologize."
Hawkins, however, offered no apologies for posing as Jesus on the cross.
"I play Jesus," he said. "Yes, that's controversial, but then again Willem Defoe has played Jesus, no one gives him a hard time. We are not denying the existence of Jesus Christ."
Hawkins recently told Planet Rock that the concept for the "Easter Is Cancelled" cover artwork is "multiverse theory. So, presumably, if we're allowed to talk about multiverse theory, as science folk, which we are, the idea of multiverse theory is that every eventuality that is possible to imagine exists somewhere in an alternate reality — like Schrödinger's cat times infinity," he said. "So, the idea is what happens if on the day that the Christ was to be crucified, he just said, 'Well, I'm gonna use my supernatural, wine-turning, water-walking abilities to fight back.' And the crucifixion doesn't happen, the Romans don't stand a chance — one of them is beheaded — and Jesus and three of the Marys, we're saying what if there's a universe like that? Imagine everything goes wrong. Isn't it comforting to know that in a universe somewhere, everything has gone right? Don't you find that comforting?"
"Easter Is Cancelled" is the follow-up to 2017's "Pinewood Smile", which was the third album since THE DARKNESS's 2011 reunion.
THE DARKNESS burst on to the scene with its multi-platinum 2003 debut album, "Permission To Land".
Having initially split up in 2006, following the departure of Justin Hawkins, THE DARKNESS decided to get back together five years later and released the comeback album "Hot Cakes". This was followed by two further LPs, "Last Of Our Kind" and the aforementioned "Pinewood Smile".