Light Fever - Hot Leg - 3.5 (2009 mark)
Chickens/ You Can't
Hurt Me Anymore/ Ashamed/ I've Met Jesus/ Trojan
Guitar/ Cocktails/ Gay in the 80s/ Prima Donna/
Whichever Way You Want to/ Kissing in the Wind.
The Darkness burst upon
the scene, provided oodles of heavy rock riffs, played
sold out gigs and stadiums and then, like so many
before them, imploded. Lead singer, latex clad Justin
Hawkins decided to lay low for some time before
re-inventing himself and his band as Hot Leg. Well
that was the theory. The reality is something a little
harsher. Whereas the Darkness sold out within minutes
of tickets being available - there is a suggestion
that Hot Leg are finding it difficult to sell out
modest venues - such is the flimsy nature of rock n
roll. Yesterday's heroes are today's rock fodder. For
a start the name The Darkness had satanic, ritualistic
rock connotations. Hot Leg sounds more like a Rod
Stewart cast off band. Perhaps a more low key approach
was what Hawkins' was trying to achieve. So what of
the music. Well sadly Hawkins has become a pastiche of
himself. This is The Darkness underachieving. The
songwriting attempts to be lyrically sharp but doesn't
really succeed. The album is full of slashing guitar
riffs and falsetto vocals as if Hawkins desperately
still wants to be Freddy Mercury but doesn't quite
know how to be. So his voice quakes and rolls and on
the opening track Chickens just becomes laughable as
if the singer has inhaled too much helium. Gay in the
80s has plainly stupid lyrics "oh in the 1980s
they were the gaytees, they were the straightees"
and how about this from "I've Met Jesus."
"I've Met Jesus and he's nothing like you."
Is it Hawkins trying to be amusing or trying to be
clever? The result, sadly, is just a mess that only
the most diehard fan will enjoy. It's the kind of
album you play a couple of times before consigning to
a place at the back of your CD collection or give to
the nearest charity shop. For me the record starts and
under 36 minutes later grinds to a halt.