March 8, 2009

Album review: Hot Leg - Red Light Fever

The wait, although really not as long as it could have been, for a new album from Justin Hawkins is over. His British Whale synth pop alias was essentially a tease with just two singles released, so the anxiety over more available material has since heightened. Enter Hot Leg, Justin's new band consisting of himself and three friends. They label themselves "man rock," which is amusing but fitting (silly outfits are out, sweatbands and leggings are in). This is Hawkins' baby as he wrote, recorded, and produced everything. And what a beautiful baby it is!

Red Light Fever is arguably deserving of comparison to The Darkness' debut, Permission To Land. The guitar licks, fun, and flamboyancy are all there. The flavor of The Darkness goes wherever Justin Hawkins goes, and further proof exists in what his former band mates have done in Stone Gods - they just aren't the same or as popular without their departed mastermind. Hawkins is carrying Hot Leg on his back now and the band is looking to make their mark in the man rock charts.

Some songs which sound Darkness-esque, "Cocktails" and "Gay In The 80s" as two examples, are actually both co-written by Chas Bayfield, an unknown friend/writer of sorts. Was he around in The Darkness days? "Cocktails" is a very catchy song, but don't allow yourself to be caught singing the chorus aloud... `Cock [cock]/ Cock, cock, cock, cocktails/ Cock [cock]/ Cock, cock, cock, cocktails.' And then you have uncharacteristic songs like "Ashamed" featuring Beverlei Brown harmonizing with Hawkins, "Trojan Guitar," described as a medieval five-minute-plus epic, and "Kissing In The Wind," a relatively mellow album closer.

There are actually several outtake songs which would be fantastic as a part of Red Light Fever, but a few are offered as freebies from the band's website. Check those out, let Hot Leg give you a dose of man rock, and prepare to be swooned with this album.

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