Review Summary: Hawkwind lite, now with no added space rock. Hawkwind – A trip through space, Part XXIII, Hawkpop
Spacebrock is a Hawkwind album in name alone. The truth is that the album is mostly a Dave Brock effort, with very little input from the rest of the band. Brock handled most of the instruments, wrote most of the songs and was also the producer of the record. Dave Brock's original idea for Hawkwind was a simple three chord rock band with space rock influences, but what does Spacebrock deliver us?
On this album, Hawkbrock are:
Dave Brock – Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Richard Chadwick – Drums on Dreamers, Earth Calling and Space Pilots
Crum – Keyboards on Dreamers
Richard Jackson – Sequence Programmer on Sex Dreams
Spacebrock is a dance album in the fullest sense of the word. This album would sit nicely in the collection of DJs of trance clubs. There is no space rock here, not even an inch of it. The new millennium brought Hawkwind into an entirely new direction. The album also contains very few vocals, apart from several voice overs, such as the opening track which has something that sounds very much like a Darlek shouting 'Life Form!' over the track. The second track has extracts from the shooting of senator Kennedy.
Spacebrock is a slow starter, taking nearly six minutes to actually get to the first track. But once she gets under way then what do we have? The answer is forty-five minutes of dancing space trance. This is music that wouldn't sound out-of-place on video game soundtracks, with images of wipEout and Kula World jumping to my mind as 'Dreamers' beeps and pounds along. This is Dave Brock's technical side coming out strong, years of holding back his musical desires finally erupt like water from a shattered dam.
Spacebrock has seventeen songs along its length, with longer faster songs laced with much slower ambient style tracks. Spacebrock does have some variety to its length, but the music isn't typical Hawkwind, and many fans from the band's older days would no doubt be shocked and disgusted in equal measure by how different the band sounds here. Only a few tracks, such as 'You Burn me up' hold the tiniest splinter of Hawkwind's normal persona. With the addition of a drumming machine for the majority of the album, the music sounds almost robotic, which isn't a good thing.
The music lacks soul. It is almost as if Dave Brock has been replaced by an android with an idea of what humans feel, but no way to actually go about expressing this in the music. Spacebrock is shallow and cheap. The kind of music that can be created on Music3000 or its ilk. Completely and utterly inhuman, lacking in soul and sounding bitterly repetitive. Spacebrock shows the band in their lowest common denominator.
But Spacebrock isn't all doom and gloom. Some of the songs are bizarrely catchy, such as 'Sex Dreams' which repeats the line 'Have you ever had a dream during sex?' throughout its length. Musically it's catchy, but this sounds like the kind of music you'd expect teenagers to create, not music from a man who was pushing sixty at the time. It leaves you feeling dirty and slightly ashamed.
So that is Spacebrock for all intents and purposes, it is not music that will go down well with fans of Hawkwind's earlier work. But if you look at it from the outside then it doesn't seem quite so bad. But Spacebrock has no substance, this is the kind of music you'd expect to find in massive clubs full of completely drunk teenagers. It does provide an interesting outing from a band that had been around since the 60s, but if you are able to listen to it entirely from front to back in one sitting, then you truly are a person of patience.