This used to be at WordPress. Imported to Blogger on 3/13/2012.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Now here’s a lesson in longevity. All you bands who are patting yourselves on the back for having struggled on for ten years, prepare to be blown out of the water, because the subjects of this review have been at their trade for the best part of fifty summers; and in their case that has meant fifty years of psychedelic madness, frequently frightening festivals, debauchery, scandal, controversy and the building of an alternative music scene almost from first principles. Yeah, Hawkwind (for it is they) might not have the same timelessly cool appeal of a Velvet Underground, musical dexterity of a Frank Zappa or era-defining sound as a Jefferson Airplane, but take them out of the equation and the modern music scene would be just as incomplete as if you did the same with any of those aforementioned contemporaries (in a very loose sense of the world). Unlike those and other names from the same time, Hawkwind have remained mostly alive and active in the intervening time and perhaps it is for this reason that they’re not so celebrated. That in itself may be due to the fact that they haven’t particularly had a still-unit-shifting classic album and the royalties from their most well-known hit, “Silver Machine”, barely cover their bill for psychedelic chemicals (probably), so there perhaps hasn’t been the same scope for retirement. And so, they (inevitably) return with a new double-disc record, “Onward”. “Seasons”, the opener, kicks off proceedings with a bang, adding the traditional elements you’d expect Hawkwind to pull out of the bag every time to a feel which reminds me of some of the original eighties goth bands, and even the Cardiacs in places. It’s also bloody heavy by Hawkwind’s standards… Next up is “The Hills Have Eyes” – it is equally heavy in places, though it ebbs and flows from driving aggression into a psychedelic wilderness. “Mind Cut” sees them diving straight into classic Pink Floyd-esque gloom territory, before “Death Trap” charges with tremendous energy into punk rock bluster. And so it goes, through the 18 tracks which comprise “Seasons”, the band veering down first one musical road then another, but always rocking it hard and angry, ramping up the psychedelic elements and keeping the quality high. It’s their best record in some years; here’s hoping the world is finally ready to give them the respect and attention this unique band truly deserve.