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QUARK, STRANGENESS AND CHARM

Hawkwind

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Hawkwind Quark, Strangeness And Charm album cover
3.71 | 161 ratings | 19 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spirit Of The Age
2. Damnation Alley
3. Fable Of A Failed Race
4. Quark Strangeness And Charm
5. Hassan I Sahba
6. The Forge Of Vulcan
7. Days Of The Underground
8. Iron Dream

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Brock / vocals, synthesizer, guitar, sound F/X
- Robert Calvert / voices, percussion
- Simon House / keyboards, violin, anvil, backing vocals
- Simon King / drums, percussion
- Adrian Shaw / bass guitar, backing vocals

Releases information

Cd. Griffin Records GCD 370 (1995) / Cd. Griffin Records GHA 162 (1995)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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HAWKWIND Quark, Strangeness And Charm ratings distribution


3.71
(161 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
27%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (24%)
24%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

HAWKWIND Quark, Strangeness And Charm reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars By the numbers

"Quark, Strangeness and charm" is not Hawkwind's finest hour by any means.

Only the manic "Damnation Alley" is really worthy of note, and there are plenty of alternative Hawkwind albums which include it (Such as the excellent "Palace Springs") rendering this album superfluous.

The other tracks range from the Hawkwind by numbers songs such as "Iron dream" and "Spirit of the age" to the poor, punk inspired "Days of the underground".

There are many better offerings from the band than this.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#25490) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 30, 2004

Review by Heptade
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It is a great shame that this isn't currently available on CD. I don't think I've ever handed out five stars (maybe I have), but Hawkwind has released countless albums, and this is the best, so I can do it here without reservation. Sure, Space Ritual and Do Re Mi are bracing stuff, but this album is where Dave Brock, with the invaluable aid of visionary Bob Calvert, streamlined and rationalized the band's sound and intent, creating an experience akin to reading a great classic sci-fi novel. I can't overstate the positive influence that Calvert's lyrical gift brought. And the tunes are great too.

Despite Simon House's lyrical violin, which is all over the record, a wee new wave influence crept in, which only helped to emphasize the cold, futuristic vibe of the record. Highlights: Fable of a Failed Race is an ethereal ballad full of wonderfully layered guitars and vocals. Just beautiful. Spirit of the Age: A geniune classic and a story of sci-fi love in the distant future. Catchy too. Days of the Underground: In which Calvert turns a critical eye on the remains of the counterculture that Hawkwind had been immersed in only a few years before. Chilling. Unfortunately, Calvert departed shortly after and the band began its decline into heavy metal wannabes, then into hippie self-parody shortly thereafter. They've done some good stuff since (Electric Teepee, Space Bandits), but this is the pinnacle of their career and the timeless crystallization of their usually unfocussed vision, so get this one and Space Ritual, if you get nothing else by the band. Bob Calvert RIP.

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Send comments to Heptade (BETA) | Report this review (#43827) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Oh, yes... "QS&C" is the missing leg of a Hawkwind table where the dish is ready to be eaten - and what a dish! Tasteful and amusing and... doping? Now Calvert seems totally integrated and also dominating in the Hawkwind scene, his voice sounds loud and high, a kind of message to be comprehended for all. And also to notice the year (1977), when our planet was invaded by rotten eggs and strange flying discos we could rely on a fresh breeze of good rock spiced by the outdated spirit of the 60s. This is a great Hawkwind album in terms of production and musicianship - I think that the band should never been like in "QS&C".

But songs are what really imports, then:
'Spirit of age', another great opener, a specialty of Hawkwind; a flock of odd sounds and quaint noises provide the introduction while the listener is getting more and more inside the tunes, all done to combine with a great peak, an anxiously expected moment - if one are plunged in the spirit of the band and the song, that's the culminating point!
'Damnation Alley' composes a good pair with opening track, there's a apparent initial calmness changed by a really old-style rock song - bass, guitar and drums work splendidly.
'Fabled of a failed race' is that in Hawkwind's lexicon is known by a soft rock, the result is fair.
The title-song is probably the weakest of the album, but not dispensable, mainly if you seek for a Hollies-kind sound of mid-60s.
'Hassan I Sahba' (or whatever other name it has) is one great moment, what a great bass-line! And vocals also... it's interesting to notice that the Arab tunes fashion only would appear 20 years later - Hawkwind certainly made a time travel.
'The forge of Vulcan' is another weak point, dull and repetitive; with irritating anvil sound and meaningless keyboards - luck it is a short track.
'Days of underground' brings back the more typical Hawkwind sound, but it's marginally tolerable although lyrics are fair.
'The iron dream' is a nice ending, resembling much more iron than dream, a song that could be more lenghty.

This album together with previous "Hall of Mountain Grill", "Warrior on the Edge of Time" and "Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music" forms the tetralogy of Hawkwind 70's Show, maybe of the entire band career, hence it's an obligatory piece in all prog music collection. Total: 4.

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Send comments to Atkingani (BETA) | Report this review (#64632) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 13, 2006

Review by The Wizard
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Dang, this is certainly a criminally underrated classic. Many Hawkfans loyal to the sludgier side rejected this album, calling the mighty Hawkwind pop sellouts. They were wrong, while Hawkwind have cleaned up there sound and adapted melody, they still had the Hawkiwnd spirit and now were embracing the sounds of glam and new wave, but in a very progressive way.

Robert Calvert is very much in the center of this album. His singing is similar to that of David Bowie or Marc Bolan. His space age lyrics are full of humor and wit. He also banned drugs in the studio, which helped for a more focused and clean sound. Melody is not abused in this record either, you'll often find your yourself humming along with 'Quark, Strangeness, and Charm' or 'Days of the Underground'.

Hawkwind are also at a peak in songwriting here. As I said before there are tons of of great melodies, but even more great lyrics. 'Spirit of the Age' has some of my favorite lyrics ever about space travel, android lovers, and really being a clone:

'I am a clone, I am not alone Every fibre of my flesh and bone is identical to the others Everything I say is in the same tone as my test tube brother's voice And there's no choice between us, if you'd ever seen us you would rejoice in your uniqueness'

'Damnation Alley' is about speeding through a city during a nuclear war and the music also aids to the lyrics by actually taking on the same trip of a Captain Calvert, with soaring electronics and a powerful drive provided by a punkish guitar riff. 'Quark, Strangeness, and Charm' is about Albert Einstein...and his lack of luck with the ladies. It's hilarious and the comparisons of relationships to Quantum Chromodynamics really fits Calvert's space age themes. Hassan I Sabha actually predicts war in the Middle East over oil, which happens to the subject of today's news. 'Days of the Underground' recalls the days when Hawkiwnd were the soundtrack to the post-hippy counterculture.

Some might complain that the playing here isn't flashy enough, not enough fancy soloing and complexity. What matters in this case is the songs are great and all the musicians play for the song. Little pretense and pomposity to be found here, just great music.

The electronics are somewhat subdued in this record. While they still play an important part in the space trip that is Hawkwind, they're not as up front. Powerful guitar leads the band through the jams and compositions, while Calvert proves to be a great vocalist and frontman. The downside is that all the riffs seems to be similar, and that could annoy some listeners.

Some po-faced proggers who hate glam rock or new wave need not apply, because there is much of that to be found here. This is certainly an album to corresponds with 'The Spirit of the Age', pun intended. Otherwise if your open minded and can accept band growing in influences, this album is a must have. It's actually one of my favorite albums, but it's not really a masterpiece. It just sounds really great to me and it's very entertaining and mind expanding at the same time. Certainly an excellent addition to the collection of an open minded progger.

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Send comments to The Wizard (BETA) | Report this review (#84644) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 23, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I can understand that some early "Hawkwind" fans (which I wasn't) have some difficulties to cope with such an album.

But there is no wonder. This album was released in 77and is fully new wave oriented. The closer relationship I can think of is "Ultravox!". Especially the vocal part during the excellent opener "Spirit Of The Age" is so close to the one of John's one (Foxx). The use of some violin only adds to the comparison. A highlight.

And this atmosphere is going on with the ultra energetic "Damnation Alley". Unlike most reviewers might feel, this period (77-79) was quite interesting in my musical life, and concerts were such a lot of fun. So, yes : "Damnation" is a damn good track. If ever I should say something bad about it, it, the only thing I could think of would be that it is a bit longish, but that's all.

This album is pretty much similar to their previous one ("Astounding Sounds"). The good old rock "Quark." has the same great mood as "Kerb Crawler". Rock'n'roll, man! Quark, Strangeness And Charm. (or The Wild, The Beautiful & The Damned...).

Heavy "Oriental" rock with "Hassan I Sahba", is somewhat lost in this work but again, the energy felt in here is very much welcome. Not a great track (too repetitive), but so unexpected and original! But three minutes of it, would have been enough (instead of over five).

"The Forge Of Vulcan" is the only spacey moment of this record, just a confirmation that the band was changing from orientation (but this is not really new). "Days Of The Underground" brings us back again in the "Ultravox!" territories. On the contrary of some other tracks, I would have liked the band to develop it a bit more, but since the instrumental closing number starts as "Days" ends, it can be seen as a (short) continuation.

As "Astounding Sounds", this album certainly deserves three stars but probably not four. Seven out of ten.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#165872) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 06, 2008

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars The muse of Hawkwind moves in mysterious ways.

After the space crash that was called Astounding Sounds and Amazing Music, Hawkwind found their inspiration back and everything that didn't work on the preceding album turns out for the good here. Calvert is in fine form and the band sounds clean and crunchy.

What we get on our plate is a completely revamped Hawkwind. They still maintained that typical guitar strumming, the rhythmic pace, the eastern melodies and their excellent song writing, but the style and sound are completely updated: the style is something that comes close to arty punk pop and the sound is fresh and new, closer to the art-rock of David Bowie or Roxy Music than to their original space drone.

The sound has lost most of its space feel: out are the swirling saxophones, guitar effects, mellotrons and moogs. They are replaced by a battery of the then modern keyboards that many new wave groups like Japan, Magazine and countless others would start using just a year later.

By consequence they fit in wonderfully with the punk/new wave movement that was about to take off. In fact I would dare to say QSAC starts a 3 year period where Hawkwind became something of a punk-pop-prog band, that strangest of combinations :-) As such, they proved to be one of those few early 70's bands that were able to blend in with the new times successfully.

Hawkfans be warned, this is something completely different.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#244456) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars Quirky and strange maybe, but hardly particularly charming!

Hawkwind is not a band I like very much and I often find their music sloppy, noisy and repetitive. While Warrior On The Edge Of Time had some good moments, the rest of the band's output up to this point had been utterly dispensable from my point of view. The present album is also not really my cup of tea but I must emphasise right from the start that this album is very different from what Hawkwind had been doing before and in many respects better. First of all this album is better produced. It is also much more melodic and the playing is also less sloppy than it used to be. All this is very good news since the earlier albums were clearly lacking in these essential (for great music) respects. On the downside, the lyrics here are often extremely silly. A song about Albert Einstein?

The musical influences goes beyond Space Rock here and encompass New Wave, Punk and electronic music. The addition of electric violin is very nice and it is the leading instrument in the without doubt best song here; Hassan I Sahba. Days Of The Underground is not too bad either. Most of the other songs do very little for me, but they are not torture like some stuff from the band's first couple of albums.

A bonus is that this album is very short!

Levitation was for me the first really good Hawkwind album

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#263511) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The four studio albums and one live album that HAWKWIND put out between 1971 and 1975 made me a big fan of this band. After 1975 there's only one album that I would say can sit with those five in terms of quality and that's 1980's "Levitation". "Quark, Strangeness And Charm" is a good album that many of HAWKWIND's fans hold in high esteem.

My complaint is that the uptempo and catchy tunes just don't hold up after many listens. I just get tired of them. Too bad because the songs that they slow down like "Hassan I Sabah" with that Middle Eastern flavour shows what kind of album this could have been. Also "Fable Of A Failed Race" with the spirit of "In Search Of Space" all over it is just so good. I just like that kind of mood. Another highlight is "Damnation Alley" the longest tune with a great instrumental section after 4 minutes. Also "The Forge Of Vulcan" is kind of cool with waves of synths and that electronic sounding beat. It builds to a powerful sound late. Perhaps the greatest strength of this album though is Robert Calvert's song writing. So witty and very well done. Impressive. The popular tracks like "Spirit Of The Age", "Quark, Strangeness And Charm" and "The Days Of The Underground" are fun but too commercial sounding.

3.5 stars and well worth checking out.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#277951) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RPI
4 stars Quark, Strangeness and Charm (1977) has two main strengths, namely the interesting subject matter of the lyrics and the tightly focused sound. Robert Calvert is the main driving force on this Hawkwind album with his sci-fi inspired lyrics and New Wave style of vocals. Sonically the album is an intoxicating amalgamation of Punk and Space-Rock, and it was the first Hawkwind release not to feature Nik Turner following his recent sacking. Simon House fills the void left by the absence of Turner's flute and saxophone with lush keyboards and some especially refined violin playing. No wonder that David Bowie recruited him for his 1978 world tour. Paul Rudolph was also sacked during rehearsals for this album, but replacement Ade Shaw's bass overdubs are excellent.

Calvert really is at the top of his form here. DAMNATION ALLEY is based on a Roger Zelany sci-fi novel and describes a trans-American rescue mission set in a post-apocalyptic police state. The main part of the song consists of catchy Punk-pop, but there's a lengthy middle section that is the complete contrary. Simon House is included in this song's writing credits, and I assume he contributed this middle section due to its beautiful violin and keyboard arrangement. He also came up with THE FORGE OF VULCAN, which is an interesting instrumental featuring multi-layered keyboard textures that is unfortunately spoiled by repetitive blows on an actual anvil. It may have seemed like an interesting idea to do this but it's really just an annoyance.

Another instrumental track is the brief Simon King composition IRON DREAM, which takes a Norman Spinrad alternate history novel as its inspiration. However the album isn't all sci- fi and metafiction as the Middle Eastern-sounding HASSAN I SAHBA contains themes of oil and Black September terrorism. This song takes its name from a Persian missionary of The Middle Ages whose followers were called the Hashshashin, and the lyrics contain an obvious reference to drugs. This is the most powerful song here with more of House's superb fiddling. The title track precedes this on the album and the contrast between the two songs demonstrates Calvert's versatility as a lyricist. QUARK is a humorous take on the love lives of famous scientists and sounds a bit like Velvet Underground on speed.

The track list is completed by the contemplative FABLE OF A FAILED RACE, the surging sci- fi love song SPIRIT OF THE AGE that was adapted from a Calvert poem, and DAYS OF THE UNDERGROUND that was written in tribute to the band's early days. This is one of my favourite Hawkwind albums, although it tails off a bit towards the end so it misses out on that elusive fifth star.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#283691) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Quark Strangeness and Charm is the 7th full-length studio album by UK psychadelic/ space rock act Hawkwind.

The music is psychadelic/ space rock in the trademark repetitive and driving Hawkwind style. Their rockīnīroll influences shine through in songs like Damnation Alley ( which even hints at punk) and the title track while a track like Hassan I Sahba incorporates some additional middle eastern influences. Days of the underground sound like a psychadelic Gong track to my ears. The general quality if the tracks is good but compared to the bands best output the songs on Quark Strangeness and Charm are a bit sub par.

The production is warm, but not as powerful as earlier releases.

Quark Strangeness and Charm is a good album by Hawkwind allthough a bit too standard/ mediocre compared to earlier releases by the band and a 3 star rating is warranted.

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Posted Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After the preceding transitional album, Hawkwind had settled in to having Rob Calvert back in the saddle as their lead singer and adapted to the loss of the sludgy bass sound brought to the table by Lemmy, with the result that Quark Strangeness and Charm is significantly more accomplished than its predecessor.

Rob Calvert's lyrics are, of course, as sharp as ever, and as usual tend to revolve around SF concepts, though there are a couple of exceptions. Rob succumbs to the last album's "reefer madness" and indulges in full-on weed worship on Hassan i Sahba, whilst Days of the Underground pays tribute to the psychedelic underground scene from which Hawkwind emerged (and might also be a respectful tip of the hat to the underground punk scene which was making waves at the time - it's notable that the punks embraced Hawkwind even as they rejected other psych-prog groups).

Musically speaking, the production sounds a tad sharper than on the preceding album, Dave Brock's synthesiser work has now fully adapted to the more bass-light sound the band had to adopt in the absence of Lemmy, and Simon House's keyboard interventions continue to prove that he was Hawkwind's unstoppable secret weapon at the time. A fine example of a band evolving its style in the face of tempestuous personnel changes, Quark Strangeness and Charm proves there's more to Hawkwind than Michael Moorcock and Lemmy's angry bass.

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Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars "Quark, Strangeness and Charm" is the first time I heard a Hawkwind album and recoiled from the vocals. Bob Calvert took over for most of the album and added an annoying punk vibe to the music. He is a cross between Johnny Rotten and Bowie but not as good as either. Having said that the album is still the better one that features Calvert. This is due to the strong compositions and musicianship throughout. In fact the album features some of the best Hawkwind songs that feature on many live performances.

It begins with live favourite 'Spirit of the Age' that has a rocking riff with typical Hawkwind style. It has the same type of effects that feature on Hawkwind's extensive catalogue, voice overs, sound bytes, and strange electronics sounding like Morse code. The drums on this are a feature and especially the serrated razor guitar sounds. This version is far superior to the live versions due to the mixing and overall production. The lyrics are amusing, "Your android replica is playing up again" and "I am a clone I am not alone, everything is in the same tone as my test tube brother's voice, and there's no choice between us"; no wonder it suits Calvert's vocals. But do we need to hear Calvert sing "that's's the spirit of the age" over and over and over?

'Damnation Alley' follows with an ominous opening effect, drones and creepy atmospheres as rain falls, and it reminds me of a cyber punk dystopia. Calvert is okay on this and it has a heavy riff, with some terrific synth lines. I like the line "thankyou Dr Strangelove, going down to Damnation Alley well good luck to you." The ending instrumental break with cathedral synths is wonderful. Once again this is a great Hawkwind tracks and thus far the album is living up to the hype of some of the glowing reviews.

'Fable Of A Failed Race' is a terrific song woith Brock in fine form, his vocals are so welcome, and the song is like a space ballad with some melancholy atmospheres. 'Quark Strangeness And Charm' is the first song I heard by Calvert on a compilation and I hated it instantly. Over the years it has grown on me especially the lyrics that dwell on the failure of Einstein's way with the laides. It's a quirky piece that grows on you over time. It is as glam rock as Marc Bolan who were friends of the group at the time. I still don't like the vocal style at all. It is too poppy too with its verse, chorus, verse structure and I was used to the improvisational style of Hawkwind.

'Hassan I Sahba' is more like it and I adore this in any incarnation and it has had a few. It is very trippy, with lots of oriental flavours and an overall crunching riff. The repeated phrase is hynotivc and Brock belts this out woth powerful vocals. It certainly is one of the best Hawkwind tracks on a studio release.

'The Forge Of Vulcan' returns to synth sequencing and some anvil banging effects that at first is innovative and then induces a migraine. The instrumental component is well performed overall, but it really feels like the type of polyfiller that will pervade the 80s albums.

'Days Of The Underground' is a Calvert lead guitar riffing piece, with some interesting elements, such as synth motifs and quasi-glam-punk vocal delivery. It is followed by 'Iron Dream', asdhort instrumental that gies nowhere but ends the album at least on a rocking riff and some nice synths. So overall again the album is a mixed affair with some awesome moments overshadowed by some dire moments. It is perhaps as good as Calvert's input got but it is nevertheless nowhere to the standard of the first 5 albums; not even close.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#646575) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 05, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars Quark strangness and charm starts with spirit of the age and one of the best robert calvert vocal tracks with a nice drumming sound and background electronics and the lyrics are interesting here to and calvert in great form here to with background vocals singing sprit of the age which to me gets ... (read more)

Report this review (#262340) | Posted by davidsporle | Sunday, January 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars By 1977, Hawkwind made a huge transformation. Nic Turner was gone and the line up from the previous album was changing. Dave Brocks and Robert Calverts cooperation was according to thesourses given never easy and Calvert had left the Hawkship on several occations. But it seams like they tried to ... (read more)

Report this review (#250346) | Posted by Dr Pripp | Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars You know what? This is a pretty good set of songs. Of course Hawkwind had already been around for a number of years as counter culture heroes the darlings of the free festival and free music movements. However their output at least in the studio (always a fine live band) had been if not exactly on t ... (read more)

Report this review (#146606) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ironic really. Pre-Calvert, Hawkwind's albums were all intensely embedded in their era, albeit slightly behind the times once you get to Warrior on the Edge but even so, that was pretty post-hippy (Everyone was impressed with the fold-out sleeve: even Floyd fans.) Then, after the brief interlud ... (read more)

Report this review (#46646) | Posted by | Wednesday, September 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a rejuvinated Hawkwind, kicking of with Spirit of the Age the tone of the album is set, Calverts lyrics of cloning still cast a shadow over todays world. Damnation Alley follows and is a lenghty Hawkwind blast with thanks to Dr Strangelove and post atomic blast it is a song all about th ... (read more)

Report this review (#44658) | Posted by | Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is a break from the norm for the hawks. The production has an almost 'poppy' edge to it, combined with Robert Calvert's whitty space-age lyrics makes this probably Hawkwinds most accessable album. You could even play it to your mother!! ... (read more)

Report this review (#25489) | Posted by | Saturday, February 21, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A unique album, the top of the Calvert/Brock collaboration. I'm a big Lemmy fan, but Shaw's bassplaying is outstanding. House's synthsounds of that era are still faves of mine. Diverse songwriting, yet an album that flows perfectly. ... (read more)

Report this review (#25487) | Posted by | Monday, February 02, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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