Archive for the ‘Darkness – Hot Cakes’ Category

The Darkness – Hot Cakes

When I first heard The Darkness about 10 years ago I thought they were they coolest, most genius idea of a band to come out in 30 years.  A bunch of dudes who dress up like Van Halen in the 80’s and write arena rock, riff-packed songs, about getting drunk and getting STD’s from groupies.  Awesome.

Their first album Permission to Land was loaded with these songs, and as much of a joke as the band was, they new how to play.  One Way Ticket to Hell and Back followed a few years later, and while not as good as their debut, and a little too over-produced, it still had some standout songs.  Then they broke up.  The band became a cliche….of a cliche.  Lead singer Justin Hawkins went to rehab while the members formed two other bands The Stone Gods, and Hot Leg, essentially watered down versions of The Darkness.

Hot Cakes is their third album, and falls short of the success of both their debut and sophomore releases.  It’s an album I was really looking forward too, but overall had me missing the bombastic beginnings of the band.  Many of the songs were written around the time of Permission to Land.  She Just a Girl, Eddie is one of those songs, and one of the better tracks on the album from that time.

Living Each Day Blind is the standout track off Hot Cakes, sitting somewhere between early Guns N’ Roses power ballads and the best of Foreigner.  Forbidden Love is another track that warrants multiple listens, perfectly produced.  Unfortunately the rest of the album is largely forgettable.  Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us Now, Concrete and Everybody Have a Good Time are kind of fun and all, but ultimately feel like poor attempts at re-creating the magic of The Darkness.  And then there’s the thrash metal cover of Radiohead’s, Street Spirit (Fade Out), which showcases singer Justin Hawkins range.  It’s an interesting version…but that’s about it.

I can appreciate that The Darkness took a step back from the over production of One Way Ticket to Hell and Back, in an attempt to make a more raw effort.  Hot Cakes is definitely stripped back to the bone, but it just lacks the catchy hooks and fun that made Permission to Land so fun.  I’m glad The Darkness are back, and I’m hopping this is an album that just has them blowing the dust off.  They’re a little bit rusty, but I still think they’ve got some great music up their sleeve.

Grade: C+