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Hawkestrel

The Future Is Us

Review by Gary Hill

The quick story is that this is an album with a lot of Hawkwind alums providing their talents. The longer tale is that it was assembled by Alan Davey with various parts coming from sessions recorded over the years. Given that a couple of the people here are no longer with us, that would be a given, really. Davey is the one person present on every song, but people who appear who at one time or another were in Hawkwind are Ginger Baker, Simon House, Lemmy Kilmister, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Paul Rudolph, Nik Turner and Bridget Wishart. Then there is Mick Slattery. While some might not recognize him as being in Hawkwind, he was the band’s original guitarist, but was gone before they recorded their first album. William Shatner provides the spoken vocal for a brand new version of "Sonic Attack." Nigel Potter is the remaining contributors. This is a modern sounding set that manages to capture a lot of the Hawkwind sound and magic. 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Do What You Need to Do
This powers in like a proto-typical Hawkwind jam. The rhythm section brings it in as Simon House's violin dances over the top. The cut shifts toward harder rocking territory as the guitar joins. This number features just two musicians, Alan Davey and House, with Davey handling everything but that violin. This drives pretty well, and really does feel like something that would fit well into the Hawkwind catalog. Some of the bass work on this is so cool, but everything here rocks.  The twist after the six-minute mark is really classic Hawk-music.
World of Fear
There is almost a metal edge this number in some ways. The lineup here is similar to that on the previous one. However, this time Paul Rudolph plays the guitar and Nik Turner provides saxophone. It's a classic Hawkwind sounding cut. There is some killer prog jamming later in the track.
Sea of Sand
Rising up gradually into a less rocking, but not quite balladic approach, this has a great tone to it. Bridget Wishart provides the vocals, while Ginger Baker holds down the drumming. Rudolph is doing the guitar on this one, too, while Davey takes care of the rest. It drops way down for the first vocals, and then rises back up after the first set of vocals. There is a trippy kind of interlude later that's part psychedelia and part world music. When it starts rocking from there, the world music textures are really reinforced. The vocals bring more psychedelia to the table. This is a big change, but also a really intriguing piece of music.
Nyx of Khaos
Trippy psychedelic sounds open this. The cut is an instrumental featuring Baker, Davey and Turner along with Mick Slattery on guitars. It is a pretty classy jam that a bit of a jazzy Hawkwind vibe to it. I really dig the saxophone groove on this thing.
The Future Is Us
This a a bit mellower piece. It has jazz and psychedelia in the mix. The lineup is the same as the last track, except that Rudolph is back in place of Slattery and Davey provides vocals in addition to the rest of his duties. The cut gets more rocking as it moves forward, but the mix of styles remains pretty intact. That said, more pure space rock does come into the mix on that movement. As it gets around the three-and-a-half-minute mark, it explodes into a harder rocking jam and really grooves.
Sonic Attack
I've never been a huge fan of this track, but this full science fiction take on it is cool. William Shatner's voice is just about perfect for this. Other than Shatner, Davey handles all the keyboards and backing vocals. This is sort of an updated approach to the piece.
12 String Shuffle
A bluesy rocking jam, this features Huw Llloyd-Langton on acoustic guitar and harp, Baker on drums and Davey handling the rest. It has some Hawkwind space rock built into it, but overall is very much a blues rock instrumental. 
May Sun
I love the bass work running along in the backdrop of this cool space rocker. House's violin skills are back on this piece. Baker is handling the drums. Nigel Potter is credited with "vocal breathes, cries and screams." Davey delivers everything else on the song. This gets into some killer hard rocking stuff further down the road.
Goodbye Death Valley
This energized rocker is just Davey and Rudolph. It's a killer rocker that has so much of that Hawk sound in place, but perhaps feels a bit harder rocking than you might expect. It's very furious.
Free Like Us
There is a bit of a raw sound to this that adds to the charm. It's fast paced and hard rocking. Davey and Rudolph are joined by Wishart here. This has a Hawkwind kind of edge, but at the same time makes me think of some of the more upbeat psychedelia from the 1960s.
Old Dinah
I dig the cool rocking sound of this. It has psychedelia, prog and a lot more in the mix. Kevin M. Sommers provides the vocals, while Slattery handles the guitar, Baker the drums and Davey the rest. I dig the train whistle that shows up.
Hawkestrel
Fierce space rocking sounds are in command. This ship is a real screaming hot tune.  Davey does everything on this one. After the two-minute mark, it seems to end, but then trippy keyboard textures take over. It gradually begins to move upward from there, before again dissolving into space keyboard zones. Those sounds segue this into the next number.
Bad Boys for Life (2019 AD Version)
Lemmy Kilmister is the singer on this number. Davey does everything else. This is a cool, hard-edged Hawkwind like jam. It's fun and a good tribute to the friendship that Davey and Kilmister had. Davey puts in some pretty amazing bass work on this thing.
 
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