Album Review: The Darkness - Hot Cakes
Few records spoke to an East Anglian teenager as much as Permission to Land did to me in 2003. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But the tales of escape, school lust and general high-fun nonsense really resonated. And when a band creates a recording that really gets to you so deeply there’ll always be something in the rest of theirs that you’ll love and come back to.
One can only assume that is how The Rolling Stones continue to sell albums in the 21st Century.
You grasp what you can and hear what isn’t there in records. You so desperately want them to be what the group meant to you on THAT album.
You could call it King of Limbs syndrome.
Hot Cakes is not like that. It’s not flawless either, and it’s not Permission to Land. But that’s no reason to shun it. Neil Armstrong would have been a dick to sneer at every holiday post-‘69, wouldn’t he?
Unlike the overblown, and only partially successful, One Way Ticket… The Darkness have recaptured the magic and chemistry of their debut on Hot Cakes. Be it in the glam rock ram-raid of lead single ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us’, scissor-kicking ‘Concrete’, daft-brilliant opener ‘Every Inch of You’ [see above], or Radiohead cover ‘Street Spirit’ this is a band powering themselves back into relevance with more cylinders than detractors would ever believe they had.
At 11 tracks it’s one longer than each of the previous Darkness records. You could put that down to ‘Street Spirit’, but it’s actually single ‘Everybody Have A Good Time’ that could be easiest cut without being missed. From the Andrew WK school of party lyrics, even the duffest on Hot Cakes gives us the line “Where fools rush in / Where eagles dare / You will find us already there”. So it’s not a total misfire.
The highlights then; well other than what’s been mentioned there is the terrific ‘Forbidden Love’ (“Oh, you shouldn’t have forbade it” goes the chorus) which is Muse done far better than Muse have been doing it since Black Holes. Or else there’s ‘She Just A Girl Eddie’; written for drummer Ed it’d work brilliant on a mixtape next to ‘Emily Kane’ and you could almost think of it as a response*. Whilst we’re at it, let’s mention that Radiohead cover once more, not only is it better than the flat, dreary original it sounds the most like PtL Darkness – likely due to it first being performed by them around that time.
Sure, you could listen to *cliche smash* beardy Americans getting introspective in a cabin with a synthesiser *end cliché smash* but some of us want more. And that is what The Darkness have always and continue to provide. Like in 2003 this really sounds like nothing else around at the moment. It’s bright bold and bloody brilliant.
So do as the man says, and have a good time damnit.
Keep Pop Loud
*But it really, really isn’t. It sounds very little like Art Brut.