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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Space Invaders

and Nik Turner – Sonic Noise Opera

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve reviewed another album from Space Invaders in this same issue of Music Street Journal. I noted how they managed to for the most part avoid the space rock trap of comparisons to Hawkwind. Well, here they’ve teamed up with form Hawkwind member Nik Turner. As one might guess, this earns comparisons to Hawkwind quite a bit. Still, this is compelling and powerful space rock. It’s another great album from a great band.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sonic Attack

Nik Turner provides the spoken vocal on this cover of the Hawkwind song. The music creates waves of space sound behind him. It’s a piece with a lot of variants even under Hawkwind’s banner. This version feels like it could be from Hawkwind.

Space Invaders
Coming out of the previous track, this definitely feels like Hawkwind, too. It’s a space rock tune and the tempo makes me think of the game Space Invaders. It’s a fairly short song and reminds me a little of “Uncle Sam’s on Mars.” The jam late in track feels a bit jazzy, but that dissolves into chaos.
Spicy Spiders
I love Nik Turner’s saxophone on this cut. The instrumental piece is a great space rock meets psychedelia and jazz jam. It even has some hints of Spanish guitar in the mix. It’s just such a powerful and explorative piece, really. It’s melodic and pretty at the same time. It’s one of my favorites here.
Drum'n'Space
This seems almost like an extension of the previous piece. It works up very gradually and slowly. This instrumental may shift and change slowly, but it covers quite a bit of territory, while remaining mostly mellow.
Stardust Part 1
The space that starts this is mellow, but also powerful. It grows with a real sense of energy behind it. As this continues to evolve and expand, it really becomes quite a hard rocking tune. It has a lot of fire in its belly. Yet, the space elements are still present throughout. This one isn’t really very Hawkwind-like, but man does it ever jam. It drops to pure space at the end to segue into the next number.
Can You?
Coming out of the previous one, space keys bring this in with a spoken voice off in the distance. This is great space music, working through a series of themes, moods and sounds. It goes from mellow to rocking and back to mellow again. Yet, it always seems connected and a natural progression. There are definitely jazzy moments in the mix on this thing. This links directly into the next piece.
Stardust Part 2
At the start this feels like a continuation of the previous piece. As it continues some space meets jazz elements emerge. While still mellow, the jam gets a bit on the noisy side. It drops way down after a time and then starts to build back upward from there. It really gets quite crazed at times, particularly later while the guitar is soloing madly. It continues to shift and change from there in quite a satisfying space rock jam.
 
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