fri 14/08/2020

CD: Hawkwind - Spacehawks | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Hawkwind - Spacehawks

CD: Hawkwind - Spacehawks

Space-rock veterans mix new and old and keep on track

Still in flight: Hawkwind's SpacehawksHawkwind: Spacehawks

People go on about how many members have been in The Fall, but I reckon even more have passed through Hawkwind. The Notting Hill counter-culture of 1969 in which they formed is a lifetime away,  on another planet, and only Dave Brock remains from those wild, formative years under the Westway with Lemmy, Bob Calvert and co. But they still travel with that aura of proper rock'n'roll mythology – extreme, even insane, too far out, uncompromising and sometimes brutally overpowering.

On this typically peculiar new album of old songs refreshed, new mixes, and new tracks, intimations of their original greatness bleed through. First off, there’s original guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton (one of the great undersung British guitarists) on what may be his last recording, a retooled "Master of the Universe", and his lines are melodic, wailing, sensitive and powerful. There’s no other player like him.

Then there’s Hawkwind’s equivalent of selfies – old tracks re-recorded – including Warrior on the Edge of Time’s "Assault & Battery/Golden Void", which is enjoyable without touching the hem of the 1975 original, and a haunting, haunted "We Took The Wrong Step", a lament which has only increased in sadness and weight since it was released on X In Search of Space in 1971. Finally, there are remixed songs from the current (stable) line-up’s recent albums, and a scattering of new tracks that veer from the ersatz to the properly weird.

This was released to coincide with a US tour, their first in decades, and postponed on account of 1970s frontman Nik Turner touring at the same time, and some confusing business over band-name trademarking. It would be better if Turner and Brock buried the hatchet in each other’s heads and got on stage together; the cheers would be enormous. But bad blood sloshes around their long history, and that, like Brock’s churning, propulsive guitar, remains another constant in the band’s epic, Game of Thrones-style history.

On this typically peculiar new album of old songs refreshed, new mixes, and new tracks, intimations of their original greatness bleed through

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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