Red Light Fever review by Hot Leg

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  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (21 votes)
Hot Leg: Red Light Fever

Sound — 9
Justin Hawkins, former lead singer of The Darkness, has returned to the spotlight with a new band. The Darkness were undeniably very heavily influenced by bands such as Queen and AC/DC but were arguably let down by the commercial aspects of their songwriting. Hot Leg provide a much more focused sound than their predecessors and describe their musical style as "Man-Rock". Kudos to them then for justifying the label they have given themselves, although some may be unconvinced that Justin Hawkins' voice is suited to Hot Leg, who are a harder rock act than his former band. Indeed his falsetto is likely to polarise opinion but that will be focused on later on. Guitar wise, there are some very impressive riffs on show, notably "I've Met Jesus," a straightforward rock song with added elements of bluesy country all anchored on a powerful riff that immediately harks back to AC/DC. There are good guitar solos in abundance and Hawkins' gritty blues rock lickbag contrasts very nicely with his foil, the very technically proficient Pete "Liquid Guitar Hands" Rinaldi. The sound can occasionally be inconsistent though; there are elements of neo-classical in "Chickens" and a distinct modern rock vibe to "Cocktails," and while these are not intrinsically bad things, they might initially feel slightly alien to classic rock fans. Overall though they provide a nice flavour and keep the album unique. It's because of small elements like this in each song that the album proves to ultimately be a varied listen that never strays too far from it's successful formula of strong riffs, outrageous falsetto and impressive guitar solos.

Lyrics — 7
This is the part of the album that is most likely to divide opinion heavily. The album is handled in an incredibly tongue in cheek manner (this is evident not only in the music but in the stage show; the outfit's are ridiculous! ) and this is most prominent in the lyrics and singing. Hawkins' falsetto is high in the mix and deservedly so; it's a pleasure to listen to and even if you don't like it there's no denying his sheer technical prowess as a singer. Obviously not everybody is going to like this though and as such the album's appeal is limited. Lyrically speaking the album is again a silly affair, with subject matter ranging from chickens to Jesus. Hawkins must be applauded for his sheer creativity; "Cocktails" gives him an excuse to shriek "coo-o-oo-oo-oooock/cock, cock, c-cocktails" while escaping the Parental Advisory sticker, although this is going to be viewed as incredibly immature by many listeners; the same goes for "Gay in the 80s". But the lyrics are not meant to be deep or meaningful and they fit with the outwardly lighthearted demeanor of the music. In my opinion Hawkins deserves a ten out of ten but unfortunately music is strictly based on taste, and this album will inevitably polarise opinion among rock fans.

Overall Impression — 9
Hot Leg are among a growing number of excellent classic rock revivalists, currently helmed by Airbourne and The Answer. Among these artists are the other band to spring from the remains of The Darkness, and these make for an interesting comparison. It's plain to see who gave what to The Darkness and it really demonstrates just what an individual Hawkins is; his ability to be both a serious rock musician and an outrageous glam rock star at the same time is impressive and makes for a scintillating live show that I cannot recommend enough. Of course a live show would be nothing without tunes and they are certainly here. For me the highlights of the album were "I've Met Jesus," "Prima Donna," and "Kissing In The Wind," the latter providing an impressively mature ending to the album which has grandeur without pomposity. I cannot stress enough that Hawkins falsetto is very much like marmite. But the fact is that if you can't stand Hawkins you probably haven't read this far and have probably already dismissed Hot Leg. This would be a mistake. The Leg manage to blend classic riffs, brilliant singing, and superb guitar work with a multitude of interesting elements such as the country inflections of the rhythm guitar on "I've Met Jesus," and while it almost seems funny at times, it's a worthwhile listen which everybody will get something out of. This music doesn't have extreme longevity; it's probably too silly to warrant a position as a piece of serious music in most peoples eyes which is a real shame because behind the glitter and the glam lies a solid rock and roll record.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Steve The Plank
    This band are amazing, I love them. Incredible guitar playing. I saw them live at Portsmouth and they were just awesome there as well.
    justin hawkins rules. so far hot leg has given away three songs for free on thier myspace. im glad you kept it objective so people wouldnt think youre just some fanboy even though you obviously loved this record great review, i hope to pick up this album as soon as its released in canada.
    Steve The Plank wrote: This band are amazing, I love them. Incredible guitar playing. I saw them live at Portsmouth and they were just awesome there as well.
    awesome, i was there too! Great band live and great music overall
    I love their singles ive heard so far Ill hopefully get this cd this weekend
    Oh man, this is such a great album. I got the free singles Heroes and Trojan Guitar off their site way before the album came out, got so pumped. Upon getting it, I found Trojan Guitar to be weak compared to the album. Chickens and Cocktails, such good songs. Justin Hawkins has crushed the competition. If you remotely like The Darkness, this is a no-brainer. Man-rock!!!
    I agree. I'm a total fanboy of this record and band though, there's no denying. The Darkness shaped my teenage life and i will follow it's members until forever. This album is SO disgusting and i absolutely adore it, i listen all the time. It's absolutely brilliant and i can't wait to see what happens with them next.
    i heard hot leg want to release another album within a year of the first. so it looks like its gonna be a good year
    Great review of a terrific album. Superb songwriting, superb guitar playing, superbly entertaining live shows. And isn't that what it's all supposed to be about? These guys deserve all the success in the world.
    Rock Pig
    hriday_hazarika wrote: Man Rock? O.o What is Man Rock?
    I am not entirely sure to be honest It's what Hot Leg describe their music as. A classic rock sound without compromises seems to be a fair definition. Hot Leg strike me as much less "pop" than the Darkness. It's probably difficult to justify falsetto like that in a "Man Rock" band but when you listen to it it just seems to make sense. I like it, obviously not everybody will.
    Saw them live supporting Alter Bridge - they were pretty decent. They didn't get a good response though - quite sad since it was probably due to the fact that it's "that guy from The Darkness", rather than the actual performance.
    "It's plain to see who gave what to The Darkness and it really demonstrates just what an individual Hawkins is" Well put.
    Crimson Ghost
    Great album, great live band as well. I got to meet Justin after seeing them play an extremely small venue in Hollywood, great guy. He made the Darkness what it was and makes Hot Leg what it is