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Rock Solid

February 8, 2009

The rushonrock postbag might have been lighter than Axl Rose’s workload this week but what we lack in quantity we can certainly make up for in terms of quality.

Yes it might be cold but this week it’s all about getting Hot. Hot Leg. And we’re rubbing our inner thighs with excitement after listening to Hawkins and his new band rip their way through a short and impossibly sweet debut album.

Hot Leg – Red Light Fever (Barbecue Rock)

Hands up everyone out there ready to give this record a right old slating just because it’s Justin Hawkins and you had enough of his overblown rock histrionics when The Darkness were at their peak? Great. Well you’re going to be bloody disappointed as the Hawk has not only bounced back from the days of drugged up depravity and bouts of depression – he’s trampolined right over the opposition and landed with the best pomp rock album since Permission To Land.

Yes those critics sharpening their knives as we speak will find their favourite tools horribly blunted by what has to be one of the finest returns to form since Michael Jordan came out of retirement and reminded fellow sports stars everywhere just who put the ‘L’ in legend. It’s chock full of ’smile-on-yer-face’, ‘tingle-in-your-pants’, ’sing-in-the-shower’ goodness guaranteed to warm even the iciest of frozen wastes at a time when the only hot legs around are those encased in themal leggings.

And talking of leggings it’s as if every one of the 10 tunes on this tremendously uplifting affair belong in glittery spandex. Whether the Hawk is poking fun at himself (Ashamed, featuring fellow Eurovision flop Beverlei Brown), the nation’s true believers (I’ve Met Jesus) or a hair metal generation forever in his debt for reviving a passion in the music we love (Gay In The 80s) this is a record which was made for the proverbial wry smile.

Lead single Trojan Guitar tries to slow the tempo and kill the groove midway through as the ’song most likely to accommodate drum solos, guitar solos and just about every other solo’ during the band’s forthcoming headline tour. And if you’re trying to be picky then this is probably the low point on a record which just hammers home the highs. But it’s not as low as Ronnie James Dio. Or a drum stool. It just doesn’t reach the Eiffel Tower heights of You Can’t Hurt me Any More or the aforementioned Gay In The 80s.

That tongue-in-cheek anthem is so typically Hawkins with the hilarious chorus ‘Oh in the 80s/They weren’t the gayties/They were the straighties/Oh in the 80s’. Pure genius. But then that’s the bloke all over. And if Britain doesn’t warm to one of the nation’s finest singer songwriters again in 2009 then we deserve to be stuck under seven foot of snow and freezing our bollocks off in the midst of a recession. Which, of course, we don’t.

rushonrock rated: 10/10 Justin Time

rushonrock.com

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