1 Jan 2014
The Hawklords "Dream" Review
We are currently experiencing an embarrassment of riches, we fans of all things Hawkwind. Currently there are two versions of the legendary space rockers touring and the late Robert Calvert’s spin-off Hawklords have just released a new record called "Dream". Hell, it’s 2014. This must be a dream.
Since the passing of Mr. Calvert in 1988, many were surprised to see the Hawklords brand reincarnate, with Martin Bainbridge, Ron Tree, Adrian Shaw & Co. bringing the band back to life with the release of "We Are One" (2012). Maybe one of the things that always frustrated me about Hawkwind (the constant turn over of members) has finally turned out to be a real strength. After all the incarnations/ reincarnations of the group and spin offs there are now a league of former members who can step in to fill roles. Perhaps Hawkwind (or for this review) / Hawklords have become a self-perpetuating entity.
"Dream" is an interesting record, and I think it carries on quite nicely from the original Hawklords sound (1978’s "25 Years On"). This is not the heavy, chugging freak-out space rock of Hawkwind, but more of the shorter form, space prog pop that the original ‘Lords specialized in. Although they are definitely related, one must see the Hawklords as a separate entity, because they always were.
Right out of the gate, "Dream" impresses with the song "Dream a Dream"; whirling sound waves give way to acoustic guitars and Bainbridge’s melodic bass lines on a song that is a perfect primer for the record. There’s that sonic space gloss that comes with the best moments of all things Hawk, but Hawklords provide this in more bite sized, melodic packages. "I.D. Man" recalls such Hawkwind classics as "Urban Guerilla" or even "Days of the Underground" and seems a fitting, if not conscious tribute to the late Mr. Calvert.
"DNA", with it’s lovely violin and acoustic arpeggio-laden melody lays a foundation for lyrics that suggest a requiem for our modern culture. This is in fact a recurring theme on "Dream". Songs like "Nature’s Dance", "White Rag" and "Psychic Eyes" follow this message of a world growing weary with mankind.
Overall, there is a pervading sense of melancholy on "Dream". Perhaps it is the hindsight of a group of songwriters who began their mission in the hopeful times of the late 60s, finding those dreams of a spiritual rebirth left unfulfilled. There is something comforting to me in having the Hawklords back, and in having Hawkwind continuing to blaze along, full of sonic attack and personal recrimination. The fact that these guys were never as big as they should have been is a testament to the frailty, joy and pride of humankind. I’m glad I live in an age when aging rockers are still our best spokesmen. Long live Hawkwind. Long live Hawklords.
"Dream" is available here.