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Various Artists

Hawkwind Triad

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing disc. It’s three bands all covering Hawkwind songs. As many of you probably know from other reviews, I’m a huge Hawkwind fan, so for my money, it’s a winner right from the start. This tends to be quite true to form with only minor alterations for the most part. Most of it is heavier than Hawkwind, but overall it’s close to the original material. I think the Hawkwind guys would really like this, and that’s high praise.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
U.S. Christmas - Master of the Universe

This is a smoking hot version of the classic Hawkwind cut. The vocals have a sort of distant screamed quality that I’m not crazy about, but musically this really does it justice. In fact, I’d say that (if you took the vocals away) it wouldn’t be a big stretch to imagine this as some lost Hawkwind recording. Sure, it wanders in some directions that I’ve never heard the real band go with this track, but they have a tendency to change things up, anyway.

Harvestman - D Rider

An intriguing number, they’ve captured the Hawkwind musical element well here. The vocals remind me of Lemmy a little, but with a different flavor meeting the whiskey rough texture. The cut feels slower, but it’s also great. I love the soaring backing vocals later, too. In fact, that whole jam is interesting. The bass line that drives it feels very much like Lemmy.

Minsk - 7X7

There’s a bit of a metal element to this (mostly due to the vocals). It’s a great tune, though and still captures a Hawkwind vibe quite nicely. The saxophone is a nice touch and there’s a cool dropped down spacey section. This is their rendition of the spoken word movement and the vocals have a distorted, alien texture that’s quite cool. There are also some very cool instrumental moments later. There’s also another tasty space jam later.

Harvestman - Down Through The Night
A mellower space element leads us out here and this really feels a lot like something from early Hawkwind in the delivery. The vocals on this are closer to the original’s echoey delivery. You can tell that it’s a different person singing them, but it certainly captures the spirit nicely. The music is even more faithful. 
Minsk - Assault & Battery/The Golden Void
The vocals on “Assault and Battery” are definitely in a metal mode. The music has some tendencies in that direction, too, but the over layers are all Hawkwind. The bass has a definite Lemmy heaviness. There are some interesting multiple vocal layers. For the second half of this, “The Golden Void,” they bring it in with an organic element and shift it out to a super heavy rendition. The thing is, this is definitely not metal in my mind, but just a much heavier version of the Hawkwind sound. I’ve always loved this particular song and I like this version a lot. It’s very different, but also very cool and still in keeping with the spirit of the piece, I think. I’m betting the band would like it. The vocals have a definite metallic, screamed quality, but it works somehow and the music is just plain cool. They take us in some intriguing directions that are different from the Hawkwind version, but in keeping with the older sound of the band mixed with a modern heaviness. 
U.S. Christmas - Psychedelic Warlords
This is quite a cool rendition. I love the shouted “gang vocals.” Here is another track where it wouldn’t take a lot of imagination to hear this as being some long lost Hawkwind recording. In some ways the vocals on this remind me of Alan Davey. The music is closer to the original than a lot of the pieces on show here. 
Minsk – Children of the Sun
They do this quite true to form in terms of an acoustic motif that gradually grows upward. It is very cool. When they pound out into the hard rocking section there is a definite amount of metal in the mix and it’s basically a quick section of “Master of the Universe”.
U.S. Christmas - Orgone Accumulator
Here is another where it wouldn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to think this might be a rare Hawkwind recording. They do an excellent job of making this their own (and a little different) but still capturing a sound that would work as Hawkwind. 
Harvestman - The Watcher
In many ways this is furthest from the Hawkwind original than anything on the set. They maintain the main progression and create an acoustic jam that’s got some interesting instrumental music over the top. While it is different from the Hawkwind rendition, it’s still in keeping with their style. The vocals are a raspy sort of mellow version of almost death metal performance. This is very cool and one of the highlights of the set. There’s a definite psychedelic edge to it. 
U.S. Christmas - You Shouldn't Do That
Coming in gradually, this is a killer rendition of the classic Hawkwind cut. It’s more metallic (but not metal) than the Hawk version.
Harvestman - Magnu
A harder edged rendition than the Hawkwind version, this is a killer jam. In a lot of ways it’s similar to the original, just has a more metallic texture to it. Of course, the original was rather metallic anyway.
 
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