Believers in a thing called love, rejoice. The Darkness, England's fearlessly flamboyant answer to 1980s glam metal, are back after a five-year hiatus.
In late 2011, the British quartet enjoyed a handful of reunion dates – clad in their signature open-chested catsuits and leather pants – followed by a North American tour. In February, frontman Justin Hawkins sang "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" for a Super Bowl commercial, pushing the 2003 anthem back up the iTunes charts. Next week, the band will consummate the reunion with a brand new LP, Hot Cakes – their first since 2005's One Way Ticket to Hell . . . and Back, and their first to feature original bassist Frankie Poullain since their 2003 debut. You can stream the album exclusively here at RollingStone.com.
According to the members, getting back together meant patching up relationships that had been severely strained since the band went on hiatus in 2006.
"When I left, I think [brother and bandmate] Dan was hurt by what seemed like a selfish act," said Justin Hawins. "But I was heading towards getting so fat I'd have a heart attack, dying on the toilet like Elvis."
"We didn't want to start from where we left off," explained Dan Hawkins of the decision to reunite the original lineup. "We wanted to go back to the beginning, which wasn't easy – it meant a battle of egos – but it's conducive to a certain magic."
Hot Cakes was recorded at Dan's home studio as well as Rockfield in Wales, with production assistance by Nick Brine. Highlighted by wailing sex anthems ("Every Inch Of You"), pop-metal hooks ("Living Each Day Blind"), and a thrashing glam reinvention of Radiohead's "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," the album culls generously from the band's usual pool of influences – including flashy hair bands, Seventies hard rock and Queen.
The band's next adventure will be an opening slot on the European leg of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Ball.