Like many people, I was instantly drawn into the fun absurdity that is The Darkness upon first hearing their awesome debut album, Permission To Land. And, like many of those same people, I sadly wrote this band off after their very disappointing follow-up release, One Way Ticket To Hellâ€¦And Back. It lacked the energy and raw sounding good time of the first release. This was followed by turmoil in The Darkness camp, leading to a line-up change and an eventual (and unfortunate) breakup.
Lucky for us deserters, The Darkness are back (with the original line-up) and kicking all types of ass! Their third full-length release, Hot Cakes, recaptures what made this band so great early on. Sure, itâ€™s not as zany as Permission To Land.Â (But hey, even the wackiest of bands mature from time to time). Justin Hawkinsâ€™ vocals are in top form, with no shortage of high-pitched falsetto goodness and he and his brother, Dan, donâ€™t skimp on the face-melting guitar work. Rhythm section Frankie Poullain (bass) and Ed Graham (drums) are stronger than ever and their energy explodes all over the place on this release. Hot Cakes focuses more on that hard-hitting energy and less on the production overkill, which was one of the big problems with their previous effort.
For me personally, highlights included â€œEvery Inch Of You,â€ â€œKeep Me Hanginâ€™ On,â€ â€œForbidden Loveâ€ and an epic rendition of the Radiohead classic, â€œStreet Spirit (Fade Out).â€ If you happen to get your hands on the Deluxe Edition with the bonus tracks, â€œCannonballâ€ easily stands out. I canâ€™t imagine why this track was left off of the standard version, but luckily we get to hear it anyway. Hereâ€™s hoping The Darkness continue down this path and stray from the sound of their sophomore effort. There are only so many times a band can go to Hell and make their way back to our ears.