Album review: The Darkness - Hot Cakes

They’re back, Back, BACK. But will their tacky, theatrical rock shtick stick for a third time, or is Hot Cakes full of half-baked ideas?

Having lived the cock-rock fairytale and by-the-book drug battles, fraternal warring and band implosion, followed by failed solo efforts and soul-searching, Justin Hawkins has dredged up the remains of The Darkness and gaffer-taped them back together.

But it’s not just a reunion tour for the Lowestoft lads. Hot Cakes is album number three, sticking to their cringingly good-time, ludicrously lascivious, Spandex-clad modus operandi.

Where 2003’s Permission To Land had the element of surprise helping its shameless, tongue-in-cheek heavy rock to hit everyone between the eyes, we know what to expect from Hot Cakes.

And while there are still screaming guitar solos, screeching vocal acrobatics, smirk-inducing lyrics and stadium-chant choruses, the melodies are too often second-rate.

It’s more downcast lyrically, and stabs at humour don’t always work - current single Everybody Have A Good Time sounds and feels like a Comic Relief charity effort, complete with jokey mid-song conversation.

Living Each Day Blind and She’s Just A Girl, Eddie are better, and surprisingly the blazing heaviness of Street Spirit - a cover of Radiohead’s miserablist masterpiece - is actually quite good. A passable guilty pleasure.

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3 stars