Seasoned readers of the Album review section of Hifi Pig will already be aware that you have a bit of a space-case fanboy of the undisputed kings of the spacerock genre in the form of yours truly and so it was with a good deal of excitement that I went and collected the latest release from Mr Brock and his boys from the mail box.
Essentially the “Spacehawks” album is a run through a few remixes of recent tunes and reworking of well trodden tracks and is released on the Eastworld label and kindly sent by Daz at Plastic Head Distribution.
The album “Onward” from Spring of 2012 from the band was to my mind a very good return to form for Hawkwind and its seen a good deal of the insides of the CD spinner since it arrived and so it was nice to hear Spacehawks kicking off with a remix of one of the standouts of that album “Seasons”. It’s a tune in this guise that is reminiscent of the Hawkwind from the early 80s albums “Levitation” and “Choose Your Masques” – pounding drums, soaring guitar solos and terrific basslines creating a backdrop to the vocal track.
Up next is a bit of a medley from the band that brings together the old standards “Assault and Battery” and “Golden Void” with the relatively obscure “Where Are You Now” tagged on the end and great stuff it is too with the story being consistent throughout the disparate tracks.
You also get new studio recordings of the classics Sonic Attack (superb and with a great live feel to it), Demented Man (musically fine but feels a little regimented and stifled), Master of the Universe (Oddly featuring Huw Lloyd Langton whose sadly died in 2012, but non the less absolutely fantastic with Langton’s guitar soaring in and out of the mix to create great memories of the Hawkwind live).
As an aside I once went to see Huw Lloyd Langton at the Broken Doll in Newcastle and had a few drinks with him – miserably I had participated in far too many “mind-enhancing” substances and ended up sitting the gig out in the car park….happy daze!
There’s a few track on this Spacehawks that haven’t had an airing of any kind before and “Sacrosanct” is one such track sounding more like some of Dave Brocks solo material with sequenced synths and huge washes of sounds in the background.
“Sentinel” is a tune penned by Derbyshire, Hone, Chadwick and Blake and originally from the “Onward” album and it’s reminiscent of Hawkwind of the early 80s to my ears – as is the next live track “It’s all Lies” from “Stellar Variations” in the way it tells of impending doom and the forces that be spinning us a yarn.
Touch is experimental Brock again creating lush soundscapes to delight and send you this way and that.
Now, “The Chumps are Jumping” makes me smile every time I read the title as it reminds me of the “Suicide Chumps” song by Zappa, but sadly the CD arrived scratched on my version so I can’t play it.
Lonely Moon sounds like the start to some huge main room trance tune and, if that I was still DJing, it’s definitely an intro I’d be playing before dropping a record. The album finishes off with the beautiful Sunship only slightly spoiled by the popping and clicking from the scratch.
As an album it’s immensely good fun and I really enjoyed it…but then I would wouldn’t I! I would say it’s an album that is equally accessible to newcomers to the phenomenon that is Hawkwind as it is to hardened Hawkfans like myself.