Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records [Release date 13.09.19]
It gets quite confusing now with so many Hawkwind-related permutations: Hawklords, Hawkwind Light Orchestra and so forth, and the various solo endeavours.
Alan Davey – bass player originally in the mid-eighties to mid-nineties – has produced the latest variant but this time with some 9 members of the wider family including the sadly departed Lemmy (‘Bad Boys For Life’) and Huw Lloyd-Langton (on the attractive ’12 String Shuffle’). And that legendary space cadet William Shatner (yes Captain Kirk) makes an appearance on a reworking of ‘Sonic Attack’.
The opening ‘Do What You Need To Do’ is promising and sounds like an outtake from ‘In Search Of Space’ complete with Simon House’s violin. It has that classic grungey sound that permeated the early seventies Hawkwind sonic, er, attack. Interestingly Davey plays all other instruments on this piece.
‘World Of Fear’ adds Nik Turner and Paul Rudolph (guitars) whilst ‘Sea Of Sand’ features Ginger Baker who drums on five of the thirteen tracks. Baker was in the band (Hawkwind) a decade before Bridget Wishart who provides vocals. Wishart sounds like a more racy Bridget St. John.
‘Nyx Of Khaos’ with Turner back in harness sounds like something early Van Der Graaf Generator might have produced. This time we also get Mick Slattery (original guitarist) doing his best Steve Hillage impression against an empathic synth backdrop.
The title track develops into a suitably raucous wig-out whilst Shatner’s take on ‘Sonic Attack’ is a little more urgent than the original. Maybe, in 2019, we need this approach.
Davey at the helm evidently provides some degree of quality control throughout, he also provides the essential synth textures, vocals, as well as bass. This is well displayed on the upbeat ‘Goodbye Death Valley’ and the album’s title track.
‘Hawkestrel’ should appeal to the hardened Hawkwind fan who remembers when great coats and a ‘Doremi…’ pin badge was de rigeur. ****
Review by David Randall
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