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Hawkwind - Choose Your Masques CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.76 | 103 ratings

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2 stars Hawkwind's 13th studio album "Choose Your Masques" was released in 1982, and unfortunately saw the use of drum loops and drum machines growing, which was not the direction that drummer Martin Griffen wanted to go in. Griffen was reduced to a non-live drummer and his participation in this album was only some half hearted attempts to make the drums electronic, which is the direction that Dave Brock wanted to go in at the time. Griffen stayed on for the tour to support the album, but left the band afterwards.

Immediately in the first track "Choose Your Masks", we can hear the difference that is made with the increased used of drum loops. The track seems like it should be a great space rock sound that Hawkwind was famous for, but instead we get a flat sounding and almost lifeless track, with the electronic drums sound off-beat, the timing isn't quite as crisp as it should be, and the space effects are overused and sounding quite tiresome. This first track slides right into "Dream Worker" which is a psychedelic and somewhat experimental track with some spoken vocals from Ian Holm taken from a BBC serial broadcast of Lord of the Rings. It's okay, but almost seems like filler. Following this is "Arrival in Utopia" which is a bit better, but still lacks that dynamic that gets lost in the electronic sound. "Utopia" follows, and is just a throw away track that repeats itself ad nauseum.

The 2nd half of the album starts with "Silver Machine" which continues with the forced and washed out feel of the album, again you get the annoying drum machine and space effects galore. The instrumental break would have been promising, but it ends up coming off canned. "Void City" sounds like someone playing one of those Wurlitzer organs with automatic rhythm, again with an over-abundance of space effects and a boring synth melody that is hard to pick out amongst the hazy feeling. Later, robotic vocals come in sounding like a bad impression of Devo. "Solitary Mind Games" is a nice track, but again it loses its dynamic in the automatic percussion which is poorly done. "Fahrenheit 451" is probably the strongest track on the album, but even then, it sounds like a foray into the new wave movement that was going on at the time. Fortunately, they at least managed to sneak in a decent guitar solo. "The Scan" is a short electronic track. "Waiting for Tomorrow" ends with a heavier sound with a great hook, and strong vocals, but it's too short and doesn't develop into a space jam like you would like it to.

This is mostly a flat sounding album by Hawkwind that feels like it was done in a hurry. The songs seem to be thrown together quickly and the members of the band are just going through the motions. This is easily one of the albums that should be missed, or at least left for the fans that have to have all of the albums. Whatever you do, don't start with this one, as it is mostly embarrassing.

TCat | 2/5 |


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