This is The Darkness back to the formula that made their first record fly off the shelves
Now they are sober, and not in everyone’s face all the time, so we can all take them in the good-natured, fun spirit in which they were always intended.
Hot Cakes is the most varied record of The Darkness’ canon—11 killer-no-filler songs that steer through the ’70s and early-’80s and veer from fist-pumping anthems to mid-tempo good-time rock, all with an ear for a killer pop hook.
Hot Cakes still goes down like lukewarm Eggo waffles: comfort-food familiar, but sapped of the frisson that made the Darkness special.
In a way it’s impressive that the only way this band could evolve would be to lapse into self-parody.
It would be nice to see them channel their travails into something that combines more grounded subject matter with their signature brand of nostalgic fun.
Hot Cakes marks the point where The Darkness has stopped cannibalizing the golden age of stadium rock and simply started cannibalizing itself.