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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Hawklords

Dream

Review by Gary Hill

Hawklords is made up of some great musicians, several of whom have been in Hawkwind in the past. Therefore, one might expect this to sound like Hawkwind. The previous studio album of theirs I reviewed was quite Hawkwind-like. This one stretches out a bit more, though. Don’t get me wrong, there are some Hawkwind-oriented songs and parts here. It’s just that they don’t seem limited by that. This is, in my opinion, a more diverse and effective set than that previous one. I’m looking forward to hearing what these guys do next. They are on a winning streak and getting better each time.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Dream a Dream

As this rises up it’s set in an atmospheric, textural space rock sound. It feels a bit like Pink Floyd in some ways. Waves of guitar circle overhead in this musical tapestry. Keyboards fill in lines of melody as it continues. Then the whole thing bursts outward into a smoking hot jam from there. This feels a lot like a cross between Pink Floyd and Hawkwind with some awesome prog jamming over the top. As the vocals join we’re into more Hawkwind-like sounds, but this is energized and powerful. A number of shifts and changes emerge as this continues. Various instruments take the lead at various places. This is a great way to start the set off in very classy style.

D.N.A.
A harder rocking, more punky kind of jam, this is very much like something Hawkwind would have done in the late 1970s or 1980s. Bits of keyboard weirdness jumps around over the top and the cut just plain rocks.
Elemental Mind
A backwards tracked vocal section opens this. Then keyboards enter, bringing with them a vibe similar to something by Vangelis. After the one minute mark the cut gets other instrumentation and quickly resembles some kind of 1960s psychedelic tune, but with more traditional Hawkwind-like elements over the top of that. The vocals reinforce the Hawkwind links. There is a cool keyboard solo later in the track. In a lot of ways this seems more tied to expansive progressive rock with a lot of that psychedelic enthusiasm than it does to purely Hawkwind type music. Whatever you call it, though, it’s a great tune.
Nowhere Everywhere

Although there are Hawk-elements here, this is very much a prog ballad that’s both pretty and spacey. There is some rocking energy on this, but it remains fairly mellow. It’s another cut that at times makes me think of a cross between Hawkwind and Pink Floyd. At times there are even some strong hints of the blues.

I.D. Man

Retro sounding, this is like garage band music blended with punk and Hawkwind. I can even make out some surf music in this little number. It’s fun.

Nature's Dance
Atmospheric yet lush keyboards open this and hold it for the first minute or so. Then guitar joins and the piece works forward in a slow moving, but dramatic and powerful way. The vocals come in over the top of that backdrop as guitar continues to provide bits of soloing. It builds out pretty organically. It doesn’t move all that far, but rather just expands upon the concepts. That’s good enough for me. It does drop back to keyboards to take it to the close.
Nature's Dance Coda

This is a two-minute, pounding, droning number. It’s very much like the punky side of Hawkwind.

White Rag
Mellow electronic music with a growing intensity starts things here. Rather than expand out from there, though, this shifts around the two minute mark to a hard-edged punky jam. The vocals come in over the top of this and take it to a false ending. Then they take us out into a Hawkwind meets psychedelia jam that really rocks from there. It drops to a weird electronic section later for the next vocals. We get brought back out to the pounding, punky movement after a while.
Dead Air

Backwards tracked music serves as the backdrop for processed vocals. This makes me think of ELO and also Klaatu a bit. It’s weird, but somehow quite accessible.

Psychic Eyes

Weird effects, backwards sounds and spoken words all merge as this cut starts and builds. There is a weird theatrical dialog as this continues. It’s past the two minute mark before any real “rock music” comes out of the strangeness. It’s a fast paced, hard rocking Hawkwind jam that takes over as it does get into more rock territory. They take us through some melodic and soaring Hawk-jamming from there. Evolving as the best space rock does, organically, this is really the most Hawkwind-like piece here. It’s got the chugging, grinding sound down. It eventually shits out towards mellower, but still noisy and rather weird space. That takes the album out after a time. It’s probably the most appropriate way to end this great set.

 
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