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Hawkwind - Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.45 | 176 ratings

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1 stars After the stellar Warrior, Hawkwind had to let go of Lemmy. This turned out to be a good thing for Lemmy but quite a dramatic one for Hawkwind. At least on this album. Even considering their irregular output from the 80's and 90's this must be their most uninspired and tame album ever. Some seem to like it but I don't have a clue why.

Astounding Sounds and Amazing music is only astounding and amazing in its title. The actual music is completely stripped of everything that made Hawkwind interesting: there's no life here, no grooving improvisational sections, nothing of the spaced out richly layered soundscapes they are so good at, it is unexciting and weary. This is the sound of a band at the end of their wits.

Reefer Madness starts off recycling the Hawkwind trademark guitar riff they had done much better like 10 times before. Even so, the first few seconds here are the highpoint of the track. A few bars in and Calvert starts delivering one of his most lifeless vocal lines ever, soon resorting to recited poetry. He must have realised it was not going anywhere at all.

Steppenwolf opens as if it could be just a bit better but after 2 and a half minutes into this 10 minutes of endlessly strumming the same tepid riff, it is clear that it will never take off. 'Ich weiss nicht was ich sagen soll', Calvert recites 7 minutes in. Well he had better shut up then.

The Aubergine is one of the moog on jazz rock instrumentals here. Very uninteresting again but at least this doesn't have any of those annoying Calvert rants. I don't know what they had in mind when recording Kerb Crawler, but it could have been a try to create typical mid 70's cheesy fm rock. And so does Kadu Flyer.

At last, after half an hour of drab, the second instrumental Chronoglide Skyway is finally something that is vaguely reminding us we're listening to a Hawkwind album. It has a good bass line that sounds like a Tangerine Dream sequence from 1975. Washes of saxophone, mellotron and a fitting guitar solo round it off. Indeed, as site rules say, even on the worst of albums, there's something positive to be found. This track saves the album from being 0 stars.

From the extra tracks, Dream of Isis is another instrumental that is not entirely forgettable. With Back On The Street however, we're back on our feet. This is the most trite stomp rock you ever heard.

It's really no surprise none of these tracks appear on any live albums. They are the sound of a band in deep crisis trying to find a new sound after years of reaching the summit of space rock. They would succeed better on the ensuing albums. Unless you're the most devoted die-hard fan of the Hawkwind '77 - '79 period, stay far away from this.

Bonnek | 1/5 |


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