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Last Wish

Review by Gary Hill

When you’ve got an album with both Alan Davey and Bridget Wishart as the main contributors, comparisons to Hawkwind are obvious. In many ways those comparisons work here, but in many ways they don’t. This disc wanders a lot further in terms of musical concepts than Hawkwind ever has. It takes on almost jazz-like sounds in places. It’s got an almost movie soundtrack feel at other points. The world music elements are all over this. All in all, this is a diverse disc that will please fans of Hawkwind, while also moving beyond that band’s sound. It’s great.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Last Wish

There’s an electronic sound and, of course, Eastern elements to the opening of this piece. They take it out to a harder rocking jam. Of course, with Davey and Wishart both here, the comparisons to Hawkwind are obvious. I’d have to consider this along the lines of the …Black Sword era. There is a bit of a keyboard solo that brings in a more pure rock and roll sound. A later instrumental section plays on the Eastern tones more. And then, there’s more rock and roll later.

Born of Fire
Some killer percussion opens this, and then the bass brings in an almost jazz-like texture. Yes, there’s some electronic music in the mix here, and Wishart’s vocals take on a bit of a Hawkwind element, but really this isn’t very Hawk-like. That is, until a little before the one minute mark when the Eastern tones come in and turn into something closer to Hawk-sounds. The Eastern sounds on this are classic and killer. Further down the road it gets taken to something a bit like a psychedelic pop sound from the 1960s. This is really quite a diverse journey working through a number of different soundscapes and moods.
Atmospheric keys serve as the backdrop for Wishart’s whispy spoken vocals. This is dramatic and a bit weird. It’s also more Hawkwind like and quite cool.
Percussion and other elements dance around one another in an electronically styled introduction. Then the cut moves out to an energetic jam that seems to combine Hawkwind-like elements with jazz and psychedelic pop tones. This is spacey and cool. There’s a tasty interlude later that has a more artistic, and less bouncy texture. Then it powers out to the hardest rocking (but still quite psychedelic) movement of the piece. The closing section focuses on mellower tones.
Acoustic guitar bathed in space keys opens this. It’s got a definite Middle Eastern approach in that guitar line. The cut grows from there and that acoustic section continues but the musical tapestry rocks out more in a Hawkwind way. There are a number of changes and alterations, but the whole thing still manages to move in a very straight direction, and is quite cool.
There’s a spacey sort of explorative nature and Wishart’s vocals seem to backwards tracked. If not, they are extremely processed. The music really wanders around, but in a mellow, almost RIO meets performance art meets space music approach. This even resembles movie soundtrack music, particularly as it builds further down the road. Once that happens Wishart's vocals seem to be brought forward.
Sea of Sand
There’s some killer acoustic bass music driving this in a very jazz meets Eastern folk way. The vocals and overlayers bring more space meets prog sounds to the table. It carries like that, in a very acoustic meets space motif, but then turns more rocking but with more of that jazz and world music sound still driving it. This is killer. It’s like a more organic Hawkwind mixed with jazz.
Valley of the Stars
Space keys open this and build in atmospheric ways. It resembles Hawkwind, but again in a more organic, or almost symphonic way – perhaps like you might get if Hawkwind and Synergy merged, though – because there is an electronic element. It feels like a lot of it is backwards tracked. It’s very much about atmosphere and sound effects and it’s quite lush, while also sedate. It turns more symphonic later, in a very organic and still spacey and mellow way. Comparisons to soundtrack music would again be appropriate.
Aasee Kitter
World music is merged more completely with the space meets soundtrack element here. This one is energized and really feels like a Middle Eastern folk tune in a lot of ways. It’s another strong cut. Just before the three-minute mark it drops way down to atmosphere and vocals come over the top of that. Then it fires back up to the type of sounds we heard before that interlude.
Free Like Us
They definitely saved the best for last. This combines the world/folk type sound that pervades the album with a lot more Hawkwind oriented sound. It serves in that aspect as a nice book-end, the two most Hawkwind-like pieces at the opposite ends of the track-list. There’s a cool little space interlude and some tasty guitar work. This is a fairly diverse and dynamic cut and works out to a smoking Eastern tinged guitar solo later.
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