Take Me to Your Leader - Hawkwind
Hard Rock - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Hawk - Distributor: Plastic Head, Voiceprint/Plastic Head - Released: 16/05/2011 - 604388666621
1 reviews from the community
Review of "Take Me to Your Leader - Hawkwind"
Finally after many years of anticipation, legal wrangling, falling out with former band members (not that they were on the best of terms with some of them in the first place and learning about file management on windows Hawkwind return with a brand spanking new studio album. The expectations of this one are high, especially since they have been performing snippets from it in their live set for the past couple of years, and dam fine snippets they have been.This is their first studio release since 1997 disappointing Distant Horizons and features guest appearances by the legendary Arthur Brown, Lene Lovich, and rather worryingly Mathew Wright. On top of that the core line up of Dave Brock (Guitar), Alan Davey (Bass) and Richard Chadwick (Drums) is augmented by Simon house (Violin, Keyboards), Jason Stuart (keyboards), former young musician of the year Jez Huggett (Sax, trumpet and Flute) and James Clemas (Organ). The quality of the guests is in exceptional with the only one causing concern being Mathew Wright. Those of us that remember their dalliances with Sam Fox on their cover of the Stones "Gimme Shelter" is enough to cause concern, and her vocal on "Master of the Universe" at their 30th anniversary show, still opens a gaping wound that cuts much deeper than Nik Turners awful performance on the same night, but one is willing to forgive and forget.
The album kicks off with a new version of the classic "Spirit of the Age" featuring Mathew Wright on vocals. They have done a fair bit to update this one still keeping with the original ambient soundscape set to Robert Calvert's poem, about problems with androids in deep space. I have to say the Mathew does a not too bad job and I am surprised even though I would rather listen to the original with Bob Calvert's vocal. This flows into "Out Here We Are" which is an ambient soundscape full of sweeping synth effects, and thanks to the level of technology they have at their disposal is considerably better than anything they have tried in this direction before, it is definitely sinking into the sofa whilst staring at the emptiness of the cosmos time. There is even a bit of jazz sneaking into here assisted by Jez Huggets sax, never has a sax on a Hawkwind album sounded so melodic. Enough of this chilling out we all know that this is Hawkwind and we need a good rock out which is adequately supplied by "Greenback Massacre" which harks back to their sound in the 80's with rocky riffs and bubbling synths which is a perfectly adequate bit of space rock even though it does at times feel like something is missing. However "To Love a Machine" is a much better beast with spacey guitars and Dave Brock's haunted vocal and the way the song switches dynamics from tribal noisiness to ambient sounds and back again, this is a welcome shift in direction for them.The title track "Take Me to Your Leader" sees them use a lot of electronic production and effects whilst Dave gives a deadpan poetry reading, this is fantastically atmospheric and a great piece of electronic music. Then we are taken to "Digital nation" which is Richard Chadwick ode to the effects technology has on our life and it has plenty of stuff going on with bits of Jazz and electronica being merged into a more "traditional" rock structure. Then Arthur Brown makes his first of two appearances on "Sunray" which is more standard space rock fare but since it has him on it, it can do no wrong. "Sighs" is one minute and 22 seconds of ambient weirdness, the result of leaving musicians alone with technology which is a good thing in this case. "Angela Android" is an answer to "Spirit of the Age" in which the idea of loving an android is explored. It is full of spacey guitars and effects and features a guest vocal by Lene Lovich who recites instructions from a computer game adding to the theme of the song. The album finishes off with a poem by Arthur Brown set to music, which was inspired by former Hawkwind Vocalist, Poet and Lyricist, the late Robber Calvert and it is a great piece of weird electronica but Arthurs poem is not very good at all.
This album is a good return to form by Hawkwind and the shift in direction to accommodate more Jazz elements is a very welcome one as it has recharged the fuel cells of the their ship. Hopefully at they become more competent with the new recording technology they are using it will result in more work of a higher standard coming our way.I have not forgotten the DVD due to an effort to get into the charts they released a DVD only release exclusively through Amazon.co.uk. The DVD features interviews with Dave Brock, Alan Davey and Richard Chadwick who discuss the making of the album, the guest musicians and Hawkwind in general. Poor Alan does look highly uncomfortable during these interviews, and knows far too much about sex with androids for his own good. Supplementing these interviews is a smorgasbord of live clips which despite being of variable sound quality are general great and give a good account of the live show which is fantastic
Product Information : Take Me to Your Leader - Hawkwind
Manufacturer's product descriptionHard Rock - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Hawk - Distributor: Plastic Head, Voiceprint/Plastic Head - Released: 16/05/2011 - 604388666621
Listed on Ciao since: 28/10/2011