The Darkness – Hot Cakes album review

On the front cover of Hot Cakes, the new album by the Darkness, are three scantily clad women sitting atop stacks of pancakes. The women are smothered in what appears to be maple syrup and the whole situation looks like something only a real rock star would ever experience. The scene seems like an imaginary fantasy, but you never know with the Darkness. As bizarre and and odd as the band is, something tells me they live the real rockstar life. Something tells me that maple syrup fantasy is based more off real life than we might expect.

That bizarre rockstar reputation comes from the band’s lyrics (“Every man, woman and child / wants to suck my c**k!” sings frontman Justin Hawkins on “Every Inch of You,”the first song on Hot Cakes), style (lots of stripes and leather, long hair, and an occasional lack of shirts) and their videos (the band’s 2005 video for hit single “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” is a brightly colored Star Wars meets softcore porn concoction).

But even with all those crazy antics, the band is able to make pretty good music. It is basically as close as our generation will get to 80’s hair metal, with high pitched howls balancing out a sense of exaggerated masculinity. And, unlike lots of bands who attempt to be 21st century glam rockers, the Darkness seems pretty legit.

Hot Cakes is more focused and musically centered than 2005’s One Way Ticket to Hell…And Back, the last album the Darkness released. The album is more sophisticated to an extent; there are still the jokes and dirty lines but also layers of strings and vocal harmonies. On the album, some of the lyrics make hardly any sense (“Carry your egg like a concrete penguin/ A concrete Emperor / A concrete man in the concrete tundra,” whatever that means), but a general sense of seriousness is kept.

The album will probably not be a classic, and no songs really stand out, but it’s fun to listen to a few times. Everybody Have a Good Time is a classic, crazy rock-and-roll track. A glam-rock version of Drake’s “The Motto,” it’s a carpe diem/YOLO thrasher encouraging us to live life to it’s fullest. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” is relatively the same. Have a good time, go crazy, this is rock-and-roll so it’s okay to be dumb and make mistakes.

Currently, the Darkness is touring with Lady Gaga. The pair may seem like an odd match, but they actually do have a bit in common. Over-the-top clothes, provocative lyrics and music that is so crazy sometimes that it is impossible to dislike.

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