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Hawkwind - Levitation CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.99 | 262 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A really, really high 4. Really high.

Hawkwind's catalog is the largest of any progressive rock band, and their prolific output over 3 decades is a daunting prospect to all but the most obsessed Hawkfan. I've been able to make 15 studio albums, a couple live albums and the great Acid Daze box a part of my collection, and I certainly find some real gems in albums like 'Doremi Fasol Latido' and 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill', but if I had to choose only one Hawkwind album to live with for the rest of my life, it would be 'Levitation'. Where lots of the band's material spends too much time lazing about on spacey non-riffs, 'Levitation' is the most fully- formed material I've yet heard from this band. Aided by the earthy, grounded drumming of short-lived member Ginger Baker (yes, the Cream alum), leader Dave Brock and valuable members Harvey Bainbridge and Huw Lloyd-Langton whip together an exciting batch of tunes here. From the carefree rhythmic drive of the title track, with headphone-sizzling keyboards diving in and out, to the forlorn moments and more joyful BÍC-ish pulse of closer "Dust Of Time", there's a remarkable degree of substance track-for-track.

This is probably Hawkwind's best (if very short-lived) line-up, which included the crystalline keyboard wizardry of Gong member Tim Blake. You can see by the songwriting credits that this album benefits hugely from the contributions of Bainbridge and Lloyd-Langton. These two are responsible, jointly or separately, for album standouts like the noisy "Psychosis", centerpiece highlight "World Of Tiers" and the riveting tension of "Space Chase" (absolutely lush cosmic sounds abound from the synths and guitars here, you often can't tell which is which at times). And then Brock checks in with the slightly-too-long ride of "Motorway City" (a fine song, but the only less-than-perfect moment on the album), and the almost metallic anthem, "Who's Gonna Win The War". Propped up with a full, audiophile-pleasing production job, 'Levitation' would've only been better if the cyclic, trippy parts of "Motorway City" were expanded upon and the poppier elements would've been extracted completely. But that's a minor complaint, as this is an immensely enjoyable album all the way through, one highly recommended to fans who haven't gotten around to it yet, newcomers bewildered about where the hell to start, and even a few of you who probably won't ever love Hawkwind but want to hear the best this band can offer.

slipperman | 4/5 |


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