By ALYSSA HOLCOMB
British rockers The Darkness return with not only their original line-up (bassist Frankie Poullain returned last year and singer Justin Hawkins rejoined the group after forming his own solo project and a stint in rehab), but with their signature 70’s glam rock style on their third studio album, Hot Cakes.
As a whole, the album is solid and full of the Queen-esque style that brought the band into mainstream rock (on “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”, etc.). Individually, each song incorporates its own intricacies that altogether form a cohesive yet complex album.
The opener, “Every Inch Of You”, plays on a rollicking level, Hawkins’ evident Freddie Mercury-inspired vocals soaring overtop of flying guitar riffs. Segueing into the single “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us”, guitarist (and Justin’s brother) Dan Hawkins channels his inner Brian May with a classic, heavy guitar solo.
Songs like “With A Woman” and “Keep Me Hangin’ On” incorporate more layered harmonies to add theatricality to the album. On the other hand, songs like “Forbidden Love” use softer guitars and percussion to create a more space-age, David Bowie-like sound, while the harder “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” [a Radiohead cover they've performed live for years] is faster and more aggressive than the other tracks (alongside Justin Hawkins’ highest vocal reaches on the album).
The band has a South American touring spot with Lady Gaga approaching this fall, as well as two U.S. dates for the year in New York City and Los Angeles. For more information, check out their website: http://www.theactualdarkness.com/home/.