Hotlegs broke through with a novelty hit, and they never lived it down. "Neanderthal Man" might have proven one of the most distinctive hits of 1970, but that's all it was -- distinctive, a thumping, crashing, grunting novelty its makers would rather have forgotten about completely. Certainly that was how it felt when they delivered their debut album, Thinks: School Stinks, and the suspicion grew even more intense six months later. Booked to open for the Moody Blues on a six-date U.K. tour, Hotlegs knew they could play up to the hit, and be laughed out of sight. Or they could play to their strengths, and maybe win the hearts of a few members of the headliners' audience. They chose the latter course and their U.K. record label, having long since abandoned any hope of any further hits in the "Neanderthal" vein, agreed to give it a go. Hence Songs, essentially a note-for-note reissue of Thinks: School Stinks, with one crucial difference -- no hit single. Both "Neanderthal Man" and the similarly jokey "Desperate Dan" were dumped, in favor of "Today" and the lovely "The Loser," and with the album's sleeve and title similarly revised, Hotlegs set out to try and gain some credibility. It should have worked. Even such minor surgery completely redesigns the album, planting it firmly on the edge of the soft rock boom, with the emphasis on the word "edge" -- even this early on, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were more or less incapable of writing a straightforward song, while Eric Stewart's guitar playing is seldom short of rock-god revelatory. But "Neanderthal Man" remained a hard act to follow, and Hotlegs were never up to the challenge. By the time they transformed into 10cc, a little over a year later, both band and its album were long, long forgotten.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson