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Hawkwind

Repeat Performance (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

I previously reviewed the two United Artists compilations from Hawkwind. I figured since those were the first two comps from the band, I should do the third, this one on Charisma. I have to say that I'm not a big fan of the cover, but the album itself is strong. It collects music from the period of 1976 to 1979. There is a nice cross-section of music from that period represented here. I should mention that I previously reviewed all of these tracks in other reviews. For the sake of consistency the track reviews here are either taken from or modified from those other reviews.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
1
                 
Kerb Crawler

Coming from Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music, here's what I said about when I reviewed that album, "Raw edged, this is an odd sounding but entertaining cut. It features R & B oriented backing vocals on the chorus. The arrangement gets a bit soulful at the end."

Back on the Streets
While this has appeared on several Hawkwind albums since, this was originally released as a single. Here's what I said about it in an earlier review, short, but accurate, "This is simply a straightforward Hawkwind rocker."
Quark, Strangeness and Charm

Here is what I said about this song when I reviewed the album from which this comes, "The title track, this one is bouncy, fun and classic Hawkwind." While that's brief, I think it fits well. I would add that the chorus hook is so catchy, and I swear I recently heard the melody to that chorus on a commercial, although I'm sure the advertising company or people who did that music wouldn't admit it.

Spirit of the Age
Beginning with white noise oriented sound effects that lead into other sound effects; it is nearly two minutes into the cut before actual music emerges. As it does, the sound is almost Smithsish at first (although this predates that band's appearance). The volume gradually rises on the music and the effects start to fall away. The cut becomes a nice rock oriented mid tempo number. Some of the lyrics are sort of a space age/sci-fi love lost ode. The entire song is essentially a commentary on some of the problems of modern society. It just so happens that it is set in a time well beyond our current time. "I would have liked you to have been deep frozen, too, And waiting still as fresh in your flesh for my return, but your father refused to sign the forms to freeze you, Let's see you'd be about 60 now, and long dead by the time I return to Earth, But my time held dreams were full of you as you were when I left, still underage." Other topics covered include android replicas and cloning issues, but all in that entertaining, somewhat humorous vein. Put all this within a proggy, sci-fi oriented mid-tempo ballad musical format, and you wind up with a stand out cut.
Steppenwolf

Starting in a mode a bit like Hawkwind does Santana (and those Santana elements exist off and on throughout the cut), this werewolf-oriented number is very strong. The lyrics detail the state of being a werewolf and the dual nature of the beast. "I am a wolfman, The man in me would kill the wolf, I am a man wolf, The wolf in me would eat the man." The track features a haunting violin dominated segment that is very progish. It is an awesome number that features many prog rock oriented instrumental moments.

2
              
25 Years

This is a punky and fun hard rocking number. It makes me think of "Silver Machine" in a lot of ways

Psi Power
A tune with a sci-fi theme, this one is a dynamic and powerful `70s progish rocker. It chronicles the adventures of someone with psychic abilities. "I can read your mind like a magazine." The chorus is quite catchy. This one features a great prog oriented instrumental break. We find that this power that the narrator possesses has a dark side. "It's like a radio you can't switch off, There's no way to get piece of mind, I'd like to live in a lead lined room, And leave all the Psi Power behind." "Circle, square, triangle, waves, It's a gift that seems to have gone sour, Why don't they let me get some rest, It's too much to understand, to digest."
The Only Ones
This is a great melodic rock song that's part hard rocker, part prog and all cool. It's one of the better tracks here.
High Rise
This is a progish, fairly hard-edged song that is dramatic and powerful.
Uncle Sam's on Mars
This is a space age, tongue in cheek space rock number in classic Hawkmodes.
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