‘Take Me To Your Leader’ is the 21st all new studio
album to come out under the Hawkwind banner since the band’s conception in
1969. (The number would run into hundreds if you counted all live albums,
compilations, and semi legal bootlegs). It is also a fine return to form by the
original lords of Space Rock.
of course have been and always will be led by their captain Dave Brock, who’s
contribution here is stamped all over every nuance, a man still at the absolute
peak of his creative powers. Dave Brock is joined on ‘Take Me To Your
Leader’ by long time Hawknaut drummer Richard Chadwick who joined in 1988,
and has stayed the flight ever since. Dave Chadwick had a tentacle in writing
four of the songs on this album, one with sole credit ‘Digital Nation’
which has already become a staple of the Hawkwind live show, as I am sure it
will remain for many years to come.
The album is topped and tailed by two tributes to their
former front man Robert Calvert. The first story on this album is a
re-recording of the Hawkwind classic ‘Spirit Of The Age’ written by Robert
Calvert and Dave Brock in 1977 for the album ‘Quark, Strangeness and
Charm’. The story is of travel in deep space and being frozen in time,
leaving behind your loved ones, so quite obviously upon your return, they are
no longer still around. So, if on your space journeys you have an android for
company and she doesn’t love you, things can become a little complicated!
Sound a little strange? Well what do you expect from Hawkwind!
Just to make things a little weirder, Matthew Wright, a long
time Hawkwind fan and popular children’s TV presenter in Britain, has been
invited into sing Robert Calvert’s words and what’s even weirder is that it
works perfectly. ‘Spirit Of The Age’ has been brought dragging and
screaming into the year 2005, and even if you have the original it is well
worth getting this album to get your story updated.
‘Spirit Of The Age’ is brought to a fine Hawkrock
conclusion, and then blends neatly into ‘Out Here We Are’, the first Alan
Davey song to materialize, emphasizing the importance of his role within the
band. Beautiful layers of Hawkwind keyboards are layered one upon another to
give you that sound that only the masters of Space Rock can produce.
This slow paced instrumental track shows you all the classic
traits of the Hawkwind vibe, whilst adding a few twists of its own with a very
jazzy feel in the mid section, leaving room for some stunning saxophone work
for sometime Hawknaut Jez Huggett. The song lulls you along in a swish of
sound, relaxing your ears to the sonic waves, but as the song drifts out, the
second Alan Davey song ‘Greenback Massacre’ launches off from its platform,
reminding you never to turn your back on any Hawkwind as it can instantly whip
into a tempest at the flick of a switch.
‘Greenback Massacre’ is probably the best new Hawkwind
rocker since ‘The Secret Agent’ on Hawkwind’s album ‘Electric Teppe’
(1992). The unmistakable sound of Dave Brock’s guitar leads us into another
song, this time written by Captain Brock, ‘To Love A Machine’.
The title track is led in by some smoky blues piano, which
shows the band are not afraid to delve back to their roots (scratch any band
hard enough and you will come up with a Robert Johnston riff), but as the song
slowly appears the bass work is so heavy it will make your speakers rumble, and
your windows fall out. I’m pleased to say the moggies for several blocks
scattered when this first dropped out of the CD player.
This is strongly followed by Richard Chadwick’s ‘Digital
Nation’, everything a Hawkwind song should be, futuristic to an extreme.
‘Digital Nation’ also shows off some more influential work by Jez Huggett,
this time on flute.
Next is an Arthur Brown song (yes he, the very same god of
Hellfire). ‘Sunray’ twists the dials up a notch with the band giving rock
solid support to a Brown crazed vocal.
‘Sighs’ is just a minute burst of some spaced out
Hawkwind to introduce the last proper song on the album ‘Angela Android’,
which could be ‘Spirit Of The Age Part Two’; more stories of consorting
with metalloids, taken at a very fast space race time, with tongue firmly poked
in cheek. (I Hope!) The songs close out with an amazing cameo appearance by
Lene Lovich who plays out the role of the aforementioned android, when she
springs into life, giving the androids side of events.
The final number on the album is a rant by Arthur Brown
paying tribute to the eccentricity of Robert Calvert, who twenty years after
his death still has a great influence over the band.
‘Take Me To Your Leader’ is dedicated to the memory of
John Peel and Tommy Vance.