Review Summary: Danish group Måneskjold seemingly eat, sleep and breathe Hawkwind.
Entertain this somewhat improbable fantasy for a few minutes. Imagine being way back in 1972, stood inside a medium-sized indoor music venue in England (in Margate, say, or Sheffield); one that smells like sweat, beer, and a little bit of piss, most likely. The band at the front, with their whooshing sound effects, bassy riffs, long solos drenched with phasers, and classic hair-and-sleeveless-vest combination is the revolutionary Hawkwind. As they finish a 9-minute rendition of ‘Master of the Universe’, sporting another one of their magnificent jam sessions, the beer you clutch in your hand is removed, as 3 or 4 men in white coats inject something luminous into your neck, knocking you out in seconds.
Waking up in a bright, white room a sharp pain rattles your head, as everything seems to shift 90 degrees. It takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust, and the hope emerges that you may simply have a truly awful hangover, but eventually you see the same people that stabbed your throat with the mysterious gunk. They explain, in much fewer words, that your body was cryogenically frozen as an experiment, that the year is now 2016, and that the cardigan you were wearing has been burnt for crimes against fashion. Unhappy about the cardigan, you enquire what will happen next, upon which moment one of the whitecoats emerges with a small box, wires coming out the top. In order to break you into the 21st century, one explains, music will be played that should hopefully make the transition as painless as possible.
As the music starts, it’s immediately obvious who is playing. Imagine that – 42 years later, Hawkwind are still sounding as good as ever. Granted, Dave Brock sounds like he’s singing complete nonsense, but the lightly reverberating vocals, spacey phased solos and driving riffs are as good as ever. Vocalising your amazement, the whitecoats elucidate that it isn’t, in fact, Hawkwind at all; instead, it’s a Danish group going by the name of Måneskjold (they write this down, don’t worry). Once the disappointment that Dave hadn’t
created a new space-age language during your stasis clears, a relief sets in, as you decide that, obviously, the music world realised that 1972 was simply perfect. This allows you to take the rest in much easier.
As Kometen Kommer
continues, you realise that Måneskjold are only too happy to continue as they start. ‘Hun bor i en Jernpyramide’, with a superbly catchy chorus and a solo that takes up more than half the song, seems to almost be a condensed copy of the introductory ‘Jordslået’. ‘Skov’ builds slowly - a simple drumbeat underpinning the lush reverb of a clean guitar – but then explodes into life in the very way you’d expect. ‘Bilspil’ completely bypasses the need for a vocalist, providing you with lick after lick of repeating, shifting, winding electric guitar and yet more space noises; it actually feels like, if there was ever to be a soundtrack for blasting off to space in a rocket, this would surely be it. No track really pushes beyond the blueprint for space rock that engaged you so much in the early 70s – and to be honest, why would it need to?
As ‘Dødstrom’'s nigh-on 5 minutes of chaotic guitar solos, exciting drumming and psychedelic atmospheres marks ‘Kometen Kommer’'s end, you’re satisfied that the mantle of space rock has been cleaned up and maintained faithfully for over 40 years. Informing the whitecoats of this, they respond with a smile, and after giving a short debriefing (which may or may not have been completely ignored) provide you with a set of keys, a bag of clothing, and more money than you’ve ever seen in your life. They even let you keep the music box. Flicking through, there are literally hundreds of artists for you to explore. ‘Five Seconds of Summer’? They sound trippy.