The first record from The Darkness in twelve years is surprisingly the group’s best effort. After releasing 2005’s One Way Ticket to Hell… And Back, the band stumbled in disarray with lead singer Justin Hawkins leaving the band and only two of the original four members of the band left. Basically The Darkness was over and they had the ultimate sophomore slump. But like so many other bands, they’re back at things and with their latest album, Hot Cakes- they’ve clearly made their best album.
Hot Cakes is great because it’s pure unabashed rock ‘n’ roll. You can’t say much more than that. Bands like Saving Abel and Hinder can make some great music, but they can also try to make crappy stereotypical strip club rock and it ends up sucking. The Darkness can get away with it because it’s something that they’ve always done. If they made an album that was full of that type of music, Hot Cakes would be good. But there are so many surprising things throughout this record they just become one of the many flavors of the album.
The Darkness perfected retro rock last decade, and they did it this album too. You can go through every song on this album and liken it to a group from the 70’s rock era. Soft songs, hard songs, all songs on this album have a retro feel to them but there’s nothing wrong with The Darkness doing it because the musicianship is flat-out amazing. You can hear that on the two bonus acoustic songs on the album and throughout the record too. That and Hawkins’ still can whale like he did a decade ago.
If you weren’t expecting much out of this record, sample it. It’s a tremendous effort by these guys and at the very least it’s an hour of entertainment. I can’t remember the last time I was entertained by an album and enjoyed the music at the same time. Hot Cakes will keep you coming back with its eccentricities, it’s humor, and its ability to kick ass. Rock records were made differently a long time ago, it’s cool when an album comes around worthy of blowing your mind reminds us.