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Album Review : Hawkwind – Stories From Time And Space

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Review by Rob Broom for MPM

Pulsating new album from the Masters of the Universe. 

Formed in 1969 by Dave Brock, Hawkwind hit their 55th anniversary later this year and Dave himself will be 83. Time you would think to hang up the guitar and find the pipe and slippers, but no, last year Hawkwind released the ‘Future Never Waits’ and have been touring. This year there are more gigs to look forward to and this album ‘Stories From Time And Space’ to enjoy. No signs of retirement just yet then!

For many of us that will be a relief, especially if the band continues to release the vibrant, intelligent music we find on this album. 

The first four songs on the album are written by Dave Brock and proceedings open with  ‘Our Lives Can’t Last Forever’, a maudlin haunting piece that digs into the frailty of man and our brief time on this planet. The music swirls and builds and Dave delivers the first of many wonderful guitar solos.

Second track ‘The Starship (One Love One Life)’ is a more upbeat affair that chugs along with a real groove to it. The song really is a lot of fun. On this track, as throughout the entire album, the keyboards and synths of Tim ‘Thighpaulsandra’ Lewis resonate and weave magic.  As Thighpaulsandra has previously worked with Julian Cope, listening to this song in particular did make me ponder the possibility of the Arch Drude being an excellent substitute for Dave Brock if Dave ever considers retirement!

‘What Are We Going To Do While While We’re Here’ contains a mix of styles, from melancholy saxophone to classic Hawkwind, and that makes it an absorbing listen over its 7 plus minutes. Whilst the majority of songs on this album make reference to both time and space, this one doesn’t, although it does humorously deal with the sticky subject of being stuck on a planet far from home. After its brooding opening, it begins to really pick up the pace and culminates majestically with more of that saxophone by Michal Sosna. It should be a fantastic live experience.

Song four is ‘The Tracker’ and this has more of a traditional Hawkwind vibe about it. Unlike many of the other tracks on this album ‘The Tracker’ positively canters along in places. It deals with listening for messages from space.

‘Eternal Light’ is the first instrumental and a brief interlude before the stunning and vibrant ‘Till I Found You’. This – like many of the tunes on this album – is a beautiful and mesmerising soundscape, welding guitar, drums and keyboard together in a symphony of sound. Another song that should be brilliant in the live arena.

‘Underwater City’ and ‘The Night Sky’ are both instrumentals creating evocative backgrounds before we arrive at the 7 minutes and 27 seconds of ‘Traveller Of Time & Space’. 

The song has a folk like rhythm to it and hovers, swirls and teases it’s way along as the traveller sings us his journeys tale. The chorus is also quite infectious!

More instrumentals follow, ‘Re-generate’ and ‘The Black Sea’. These lead into ‘Frozen In Time’, a more somber set of lyrics intertwined with more magical, musical mischief. 

The final piece on the album is another instrumental called ‘Stargazers’. At 5 minutes long it has more to it than some of the other instrumentals as the piece ducks and dives throughout its journey. There’s a range of electronic sounds and changes of pace. Like several of the instrumentals – and the songs – this one really benefits from being played loud or through headphones (or both!). 

The booklet that accompanies the album has some wonderful artwork and contains some lyrics and notes regarding the songs. 

Personally, this album is perfect for fans who have aged with the band or are simply fully absorbed into the Hawkwind catalogue of music. It doesn’t have the fury of ‘Space Ritual’ (but what does?), but still after all these years this new studio album (number 36!) shows depth and progress rather than just ‘dialling in’ an album. The band genuinely sound like they are enjoying making the music on ‘Stories From Time And Space’. The themes within the songs and music are very ‘Hawkwind’. However, with the rich musical diversity contained within the album comes the possibility that with exposure to a wider audience this music could bring in new fans. And that, space lords, is a really exciting thought.

‘Stories From Time And Space’ will reward you with repeated listens as with each spin the more substance and depth you seem to discover. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve listened to it while preparing this review, but I am still discovering new sounds and moments. 

So, sit back, turn up the volume and take a journey into time and space.

Pre-order here – https://cherryred.co/Hawkwind

www.hawkwind.com

www.facebook.com/HawkwindHQ

www.facebook.com/groups/HAWKWINDOFFICIAL

@HawkwindHQ

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