The Darkness – Hot Cakes

The Darkness are clearly back to take over the world with this album.

This new slice of sex opens up with Every Inch of You, a warm-hearted love song to the physical stage which supports frontman Justin Hawkins’ flamboyant flying lotus personality.

It’s a genuinely infectious and stripped-down Queen-esque anthem which warmly embraces Hawkins’s “brother and my two best mates” and sets the record straight that the group is ready to mature.

From the production of the record it’s clear that the boys have been listening to a lot of Queen — guitarist Dan Hawkins has no doubt been sneaking a look at Brian May’s setup on his occasional guest performances with the band — a position further cemented by With A Woman’s delta blues guitar figure.

Think John Deacon’s Norman Greenbaum-plundering You’re My Best Friend and put it through a glam rock filter and you’ll appreciate what they’ve been doing for the past few years.

Execution aside, it’s reassuring to see the usual Darkness themes are in place.

Anal sex — in fact, every type of sex imaginable and available to a rock star — a full appreciation of exactly how awesome oneself is, and of course, a love of rock and roll.

One track that will no doubt set internet forums alight with apoplexy is a cover of Radiohead’s Street Spirit, repurposed into a staccato, chugging metal bastard.

But it clearly comes from a respect for its originators, with a witty and brief reference to the Just, also from the Bends, which reveals that this isn’t a piss-take.

In fact, a good few songs bear a strange resemblance to early Radiohead, particularly the freewheeling grunge of Pablo Honey — a comparison I feel surpised at making.

Love Is Not The Answer seems an odd choice of closer, but then the Darkness have always been there to answer unasked questions.

The boys are most definitely back in town.