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Star Nation

The Silver Age

Review by Bruce Stringer

Hawkwind drummer Richard Chadwick and ex-Hawkwind guitarist Jerry Richards play alongside musicians Steve Hayes, Alex Hart, Steve Taylor and scribe Sophie Knight on this album of industrial, post-punk, space-rock. The Silver Age is a thematic CD with many a surprise in stall for the listener and many interesting lyrics to puzzle over.

The album can be acquired directly from Star Nation by contacting Richard Chadwick, Jerry Richards and Star Nation at PO Box 2979, Frome, Somerset, BA11 4XZ, UK. Do MSJ a favor and let them know that you read about the CD at Music Street Journal.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Everlasting Blim
Bursting into something closer to Republica than Hawkwind. Jerry's guitar work is technically brilliant, and the song is pumping! This is a great opener and could be a valid vote for single.
Hey! That's My Blanket
Heavy space rock that relies more on the rhythmic aspect than synths, this is a welcome change from the norm. Slow-paced and grand with some open spaces - I have no idea about the song title, though!
Is This Your Tent
Amongst some blistering guitar playing from Jerry we have some thought provoking lyrics and distorted spoken word vocals. With a disco-type tribal rhythm throughout and some audience sound samples this is some pretty spacey stuff.
Snarl
Something along the lines of a country & western Pink Floyd-style piece, this light, slow thematic piece holds its own very nicely. With a heartfelt vocal performance, Richard is surrounded by some fading in, slide guitars that hover like seagulls over an ocean of music. Star Rats is a very beautiful song and my favourite piece off the CD.
Chrononaut
Okay, Hawkwind fans this is what you've been waiting for - heavy loud eastern guitar solos over an inspired pulse and some mantric vocal passages. This song is modern space rock at it's best. With lyrics of the ancients and some really great playing, I think this is a very strong number.
Invisible Girl
Invisible Girl is another very interesting cut with some lyrical words in a repetitive, rocky format. A nice guitar riff holds the piece in place. It has few changes, but is kept exciting by the Huw Lloyd-Langton-esque (e-bow?) guitar parts in the middle break. Waves of sound come crashing over the listener as we are taken on this lengthy musical journey. This is definitely one of my favourite songs on the CD and very Hawkwind-ish.
The Silver Age
This is the climax to a very interesting album. With some Americanised spoken word parts are we dealing with a possible Capitalist dictatorship? New gods they walk among us… I feel that we are confronted with a post-apocalyptic, mental prison world of the future, but throughout most of Star Nation's lyrics we are given a strong wake-up call to what is lurking about and the choice of change. Richard's strained vocals tearing at the walls during the attack make for an eerie, tingling up the spine in direct contrast to the smoothness of Star Rats. The industrial, post-punk thrash hits home hard as we end up reeling under the shrill of a car alarm.
 
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