The Darkness – Hot Cakes

The Darkness - Hot Cakes

Released on August 20, 2012 (Canary Dwarf)
Chart Position #43

Track List:
01. Every Inch Of You
02. Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us
03. With A Woman
04. Keep Me Hangin’ On
05. Living Each Day Blind
06. Everybody Have a Good Time
07. She Just A Girl, Eddie
08. Forbidden Love
09. Concrete
10. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
11. Love Is Not The Answer
Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:
12. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Love (acoustic demo)
13. Love Is Not The Answer (acoustic demo)
14. Pat Pong Ladies (demo mix)
15. Cannonball (long version)
16. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us (music video)
17. Everybody Have A Good Time (music video)

Band Members:
Justin Hawkins – vocals and guitar
Dan Hawkins – guitar and backing vocals
Frankie Poullain – bass and backing vocals
Ed Graham – drums and backing vocals

Additional Musicians:
Ian Anderson – flute (15)

Produced by Nick Brine, Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins and Bob Erzin.

There are several bands playing ‘classic’ hard rock music that, even for the die-hard fans of the genre, seem to be pretty annoying. The case is usually that fans either can’t stand the image, the flat production the bands sometimes grant their albums or, most often in my case, the lead vocalist’s delivery. For instance, in my opinion Pretty Boy Floyd would be a pretty solid band if not for Steve Summers‘ vocal manner. A lot of people can say the same about such bands like Megadeth or Ratt, but it is not even the question of the vocal capabilities or if someone can sing or not — it is a case of personal taste. Some people like Stephen Pearcy‘s nasal screams, some find him horrendous — even guys like Steve Perry, who where technically perfect, had some people turning their heads.

The band whose CD I am about to review perfectly fits into the category of ‘discussible’ singer — some like the guy and some absolutely hate him. The DarknessJustin Hawkins, who managed to reunite the band and release their third album Hot Cakes, is technically a very well trained screamer who can also sing. The problem is that Justin‘s main forte is ultra high falsetto screams. He has got a lot of shit for that, especially since he used this ability quite often on The Darkness‘ earlier releases.

The same is the case with the band’s new album Hot Cakes. A lot of rock fans I know, the ones who happen to know about The Darkness, like this band’s music as they seem to enjoy their powerful guitar driven sound, resembling a mix of AC/DC, Queen and Thin Lizzy. The only turn off for them, the one that kills the experience, is the lead singer’s ‘girly’ vocals.

I admit that the singing can get quite annoying at times, especially since Justin Hawkins uses his high pitch screams very extensively, but I think that judging this CD on that factor alone would be unfair. The truth is Hot Cakes has a lot of great, catchy rock tunes. The band seemed to really put their heart and soul into writing this record and I believe it is worth, if not buying, at least giving it a listen. If the peculiar lyrics (which are really strange at times) and the lead man’s singing manner don’t turn you away, there is some great rock ‘n’ roll on this record.

I cannot recommend Hot Cakes completely — everything about it seems a little odd, starting from the sexy but strange album cover up to the solid rock music with castrato vocals. But really, try to check at least one of The Darkness‘ songs. If you hate it don’t bother with the CD, as there is no need to torture yourself further. If you like it however, give this record a shot — because if you enjoy one song, you’ll like them all.

Reviewed by Fat Peter for Sleaze Roxx, September 2012

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