Allow me to begin by establishing how great of a band Queen is. Honestly, the last ballad you rocked out to was probably by Queen. That said, The Darkness is not Queen. But the same arena-rock style and high-pitched yelps of frontman Justin Hawkins, devoid of any sign of testosterone, frequent the tracks of “Hot Cakes.”
The post-hiatus third album from British rock band The Darkness released Tuesday.
The gravest folly of this album is an effort to channel Queen through ill attempts at injecting instances of glamour. Queen is the lifeblood of glam-rock: picturesque tunes, transforming an aural experience into something equally visual. “Hot Cakes” will likely produce the same effects as the band’s previous work: a single, tons of air time in commercials and sports venues and a dwindling presence with a gradual decrease, soon to be forgotten from the history pages of rock.
Few songs are worthy of their own mention. Vapid melodies and, at times, incomprehensible lyrics blur the moments between tracks. As a result, most songs sound like a sequel to the album’s predecessor, “One Way Ticket to Hell … and Back.”
“Hot Cakes” reeks of the struggle for a single, so much so that it feels like every song was written to potentially be just that. My struggle, however, was to enjoy an entire song on this album. At best I appreciated morsels.
“Love is not the Answer” is the antithesis of the previous shrieking tune known as “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” off the band’s first album. It is actually one of the more enjoyable moments of the album, although the chorus sounds oddly reminiscent of “Once in a Lifetime” by The Talking Heads. A common occurrence throughout, an ill attempt at putting a Queen-style spin on a handful of ’80s hits fused with original material of The Darkness. The result is a slew of trite, unoriginal songs for the broken-hearted.
Look forward to hearing a track or two played over and over at your favorite bar for about three months, and then forget it ever happened. If you have 40 minutes to spare, just study. You will thank me, and fret less about your impending midterms.
Album Grade: C+
Justin Hawkins’ Mustache Grade: A+