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The Darkness – Hot Cakes Review

September 5, 2012 | Posted by Andy Rackauskas

Wind-Up Records

Release Date – 8/21/12

Justin Hawkins – vocals, guitar
Dan Hawkins – guitar
Frankie Poullain – bass guitar
Ed Graham – drums

Co-producer – Bob Ezrin (tracks: 1)
Engineer – Nick Brine
Engineer [Mix] – Justin Courtelyou
Mastered By – Greg Calbi
Mixed By – Bob Ezrin
Producer – Dan Hawkins, Justin Hawkins, Nick Brine
Recorded By [Assistant] – Joshua Tyrell, Owen Morgan

1. “Every Inch Of You” 3:05
2. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” 2:45
3. “With A Woman” 3:41
4. “Keep Me Hangin’ On” 3:01
5. “Living Each Day Blind” 5:07
6. “Everybody Have A Good Time” 4:48
7. “She Just A Girl, Eddie” 3:47
8. “Forbidden Love” 3:50
9. “Concrete” 3:52
10. “Sweet Spirit (Fade Out)” written by Radiohead 3:07
11. Love Is Not The Answer” 3:42

Like the rise of a phoenix, The Darkness are back from the dead. After a number of years apart, the band has reformed. It’s kind of hard to believe that these glam metal/cock rockers came out with their debut album “Permission To Land” in 2003. Almost a decade ago, these guys unleashed the single, “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”. From that moment on, one was never really sure if these guys were a joke or just a seriously funny hard rockin’ band. The latter is the more accurate analogy.

The Darkness simply put out good fun rock and roll. They do so, not with a tongue and cheek wink, but with a blatant hit upside your head. Their antics, lyrics, and singing almost verge on the absurd. But, in absurdity, the band finds true meaning. Rock isn’t supposed to be that serious, is it? These guys get Spinal Tap, and they are living it. At times they channel Queen’s showmanship with the power of AC/DC. Sometimes Justin Hawkins’ falsetto gets to be a bit much. But it works overall.

The album opens up with “Every Inch Of You”, and it’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer. It’s got a huge AC/DC vibe that reminds me of “Can I Sit Next To You, Girl”. “Every Inch Of You” is simply a fun and humorous stomp. Next up is “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us”. You can immediately pick up on the Queen vibe of “Don’t Stop Me Now” just on the title alone. Other standout tracks include “With A Woman”, “Keep Me Hangin’ On”, and “Everybody Have A Good Time” “With A Woman” is just a 100% 70’s radio rock song. “Keep Me Hangin’ On” has a solid driving rhythm that comes off as something ELO may have done. However, “Everybody Have A Good Time” is really the show stealer. It’s just a pure rock anthem. It’s hard not to want to crank it up when you hear it. The Darkness also pull off a solid cover of Radiohead’s “Sweet Spirit (Fade Out)”. Apparently it’s a song the band like playing live. They do the original justice and make it their own.

The album isn’t perfect by any means. “Living Each Day Blind” and “Forbidden Love” just don’t hook you in. “Concrete” isn’t a bad cut, but if you had to drink each time you heard the lyric “concrete”, you’d be three sheets after about 30 seconds into the jam.

Overall, “Hot Cakes” is simply a fun rock album that’s worthy of a listen. If you’re taking it too seriously, you’re missing the point. Have fun with it.

The Darkness – “Every Inch Of You”

The Darkness – “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us”

The Darkness – “Everybody Have A Good Time”

The 411: “Hot Cakes” is a mess. The album cover is a perfect representation. Between the falsetto singing and catchy choruses, it’s hard not to get into the music. Some of the songs are odd ballads, but most are straight forward rockers. And a vast majority are just good old fashioned fun. Viv Savage from Spinal Tap said it best. “Have a good time…all the time”. That’s exactly what The Darkness are doing. Why not join in on the fun?
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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Andy Rackauskas
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