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Hawkwind - PXR 5 CD (album) cover

PXR 5

Hawkwind

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.91 | 116 ratings

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Modrigue
Prog Reviewer
2 stars 2.5 stars

After "Quark, Strangeness And Charm", HAWKWIND recorded PXR5 in 1978, but disbanded due to internal disagreements. The members then went on side projects. After the release of "25 Years On" and the departure of Robert Calvert, Dave Brock reformed the band with new members and finally released the album in 1979. Thus, the line-up of "PXR5" is nearly the same as on "Quark, Strangeness And Charm".

Nonetheless, the music was already turning punk, while the metal and futuristic elements developed on the innovative 1977 opus were temporarily put aside. As a consequence, the style isn't really space rock and can be compared to "25 Years On"'s, but unfortunately without the the same composition quality.

The disc is in fact half-studio half-live: "Uncle Sam's On Mars", "Robot" and "High Rise" were recorded live during the 1977 tour in England, and then remixed and overdubbed in studio, whereas "Infinity" was based on a poem Robert Calvert recited for the 1973 Space Ritual Tour.

The opener "Death Trap" is just a basic punk track, repetitive and irritating. "Jack Of Shadows" is an enjoyable soft rock with some spacey keyboards. Then the band surprisingly goes back to stoner with the psychedelic "Uncle Sam's On Mars". This song has similitudes with "Brainstorm", however smoother and much less interesting. The first half finishes with the poem "Infinity", an average space folk ballad, with various sound effects.

The second half of the record is a little more inspired. "Life Form" is a short ambient electronic introduction for "Robot", the longest track. Inspired by Isaac Asimov's trilogy, its middle-eastern aggressive riff is in the style of "Magnu". Unfortunately it fails at being the highlight, as it does not feature many variations. On the contrary, "High Rise" is the best track of the disc. An aerial trippy piece, with spacey guitars. The title track is original, a kind of half-punk, half-robotic song, but a bit difficult to follow. Ironically, this composition is better than the title tracks from the Hawks' best albums from this period.

There is not much to save from this record, except "High Rise". The band is not as innovative as on "Quark, Strangeness And Charm" and not as audacious as on "25 Years On". Last official HAWKWIND studio release with Robert Calvert, "PXR5" marks the end of an era and is Brock and co.'s first genuine fault in their rich 70's discography.

But a new decade is just about to come...

Modrigue | 2/5 |

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