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Review: The Darkness return, offering 'Hot Cakes'

This CD cover image released by Wind up Records shows the latest release by The Darkness, 'Hot Cakes.' This CD cover image released by Wind up Records shows the latest release by The Darkness, "Hot Cakes." (AP Photo/Wind up Records)
By Sian Watson
Associated Press / August 20, 2012
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The Darkness, "Hot Cakes" (Wind-Up)

In the opening lines of "Every Inch of You," the first track on The Darkness' new album "Hot Cakes," Justin Hawkins laments his past misfortunes: "Oh baby I was a loser/Several years on the dole/An Englishman with a very high voice." But that loser has made that very high voice work for him as the reformed glam rockers release their third studio album.

"Hot Cakes" just exudes fun. It seems to wipe away a period of discord during which the band broke up and its members started other projects. You can almost see the lanky rockers jumping around, causing havoc on stage.

"Nothin's Gonna Stop Us" has a feel-good 1980s rocking chorus and guitar solos you can imagine being played atop a huge speaker in a stadium. It's a song that's perfect for warming up a Lady Gaga crowd, something The Darkness will do on her world tour.

As the album progresses to "With a Woman," it becomes lyrically more somber and loses the cocky edge that has defined previous releases. Hawkins muses on a failed relationship, but still manages a Darknessesque squeal at the end. However, this love song isn't as strong as other romantic ditties such as "Love is Only a Feeling" on the quartet's 2003 debut "Permission to Land."

The album stumbles somewhat when Hawkins isn't using his voice to its full range and sings bland lyrics about banal domesticities, making cups of tea and getting taxis.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Forbidden Love" intertwines melodic harmonies and a delicate drum beat that progress into a rockier musing on love.

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