Hot Leg

Red Light Fever

Written by: TL on 28/04/2009 14:44:12

To be absolutely blunt, I wasn't exactly a happy camper when all the other writers silently ignored the debut album of Hot Leg, "Red Light Fever" for long enough to make me realize that I would indeed have to write it myself since I had been unfortunate enough to have it sent to me. My expectations for the new band of the infamous Justin Hawkins were small to put it gently, as the fact that his former band The Darkness seemed to me to have little else to offer than his gimmicky falsetto and his singlehanded attempt to revive glam rock.

However, a truckload of listening sessions later, I also admittedly have to surrender to the charms of this record and recognize that it is pretty cool for the most part at least. Justin's new bandmembers seem to share his affections for all things OTT and instrumentally they are especially busy p(l)aying some tribute to the good old AC/DC sound, while the arrangements are more reminiscent of Queen in more than one place. See second track "You Can't Hurt Me Anymore" for proof of the former reference, and fifth one "Trojan Guitar" for the second one. Then throw in some synth alá Van Halen on "Cocktail" and "Gay In The 80's" and some rockabilly in "Ashamed" and you should have compiled a pretty good overview of what's at large on this album.

For the most part this is all delivered with a joyful feel that makes you think of Sunset Strip rock in general, and it shines through that these guys definitely get a kick out of playing this kind of music. So as far as that goes, the record is indeed quite enjoyable, however, every rose has its thorns. Here those sting you most in the moments when Justin seems to forget singing in a manner appropriate for the songs and instead goes all out in showing off just how extreme he can make that falsetto sound. In those moments, this band has circa the same capacity for being taken seriously as Twisted Sister had, and to me at least that's a problem when he's otherwise shown that he can make some cool vocal work when he restrains himself a bit.

Overall, "Red Light Fever" is an album that sees Hot Leg join ranks with a handful of succesful bands who reference some of the most enjoyable of the 70's rock'n'roll in the most delightful of ways, and to which extent you'll find them fitting your taste is probably going to depend on which aspect of that sound you like the most. If you prefer the artistry and integrity (of for instance Led Zeppelin) then Wolfmother and The Parlor Mob are probably better ways to go, while Airbourne and The Answer should satisfy your needs for groovy boogie rock (alá AC/DC). If however you're in it just to experience the overall feeling of fun that a lot of the more superficial artists of the time stood for, then Hot Leg could probably be just what you're looking for. In any case, their debut record is much more solid than what you would have probably expected from the perpetrator of the infamous "I Believe In A Thing Called Love".

7

Download: I've Met Jesus, Trojan Guitar, Ashamed
For The Fans Of: AC/DC, Queen, Van Halen, Twisted Sister
Listen: myspace.com/hotleg

Release Date: 20.04.2009
Barbecuerock

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