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Robert Calvert - Captain Lockheed & The Starfighters CD (album) cover


Robert Calvert


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.85 | 42 ratings

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4 stars Twinkle, twinkle, little Starfighter...

A bit of a curio, this one - and the track titles would fill out this review faster than my normal analysis would. If you're looking to expand your Hawkwind collection, though, this is a good addition, very much in the right sort of style - and, given that nearly everyone's here, plus some bonus names, including the welcome additional talents of the legendary Arthur Brown and John Twink Alder, you'll have some idea of what you're letting yourself in for - and it's quite a trip.

But this isn't just another Hawkwind album - it's a fashioned concept, with wooey noises a-plenty, and lots of voices conjouring up all manner of scenes... mainly concerning aeroplanes, instead of space travel, and mainly concerning a dubious fantasy theme around the reconstruction of the glorious German Luftwaffe. No spoilers here, but there are some comical monologues and dialogues around this theme between the songs.

The songs themselves are what you'd expect - average Hawkwind-style songs with a high wooey-noise quotient, tasty little guitar licks and sax bleeps. But they're also not what you'd expect at all, and not what they sound like on the surface - as with all Hawkwind, you may need to dig deep for the massive payback.

Obviously, there's nothing any more complex than two or three chord progressions, but that's never been what Hawkwind are about. There's nothing here on a par with Psychedelic Warlords, Brainstorm or Master of the Universe, but there's plenty of Hawkwind space-punk energy, driving the lyrics, which are explorations of various parts of the developing story (no spoilers here), and the songs are all fun, as well as very trippy, as you'd expect.

Picking out highlights is next to impossible - the quality is consistent throughout, and all the songs are equally enjoyable for what they are, which is the original psych-space-punk-rock which made Hawkwind the unique outfit they were. Received in the right mood, the power here is just as overwhelming as on anything else Hawkwind released - and the material increases in quality as the album progresses, so don't be put off by the boxy sound of the opening songs.

If you're not accustomed to the ways of Hawkwind, this isn't a bad introduction to their material, and will certainly make you appreciate their sense of humour better. If your ears aren't spoiled by modern production and fine-grain quantisation, and you're not looking for dazzling displays of virtuosity or precision of any sort, then you will definitely enjoy the raw resonance and sonic splendours of this album, especially given that it was released in 1974. If you can do that thing with your ears which is the equivalent of seeing the picture in one of those 3d posters that looks like random stuff until you kind of squint a bit, then it pays dividends.

Listen end-to-end at high volume for best results - this is not an album to dip into at random.

I agree with the consensus here - this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. 4 solid stars.

Certif1ed | 4/5 |


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