(All Album Reviews by Burgess Penguin)
Dave Brock - Guitar, Harmonica, some Keyboards, Vocals,
Del Dettmar - Synthesizer, Keyboards, Kalimba
Simon House - Synthesizers, Violin, Keyboards, Vocals, Mellotron
Simon King - Percussion, Drums
Lemmy - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Nik Turner - Flute, Oboe, Saxophone, Vocals
Stacia - Exotic Dancing
With this 1974 release, Hawkwind fans got themselves a bit of a shock in the band's new sound. With the arrival of keyboardist/violinist Simon House, Hawkwind added a sweeping symphonic edge to their sonic palette and upped the musicianship a few notches in the process, but still being able to ferociously rock out as before. The addition of the swirling mellotrons and violin only enhanced the band's spacey/trippy atmospheres.
The new sound was best realized on tracks like "The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke)", "D-Rider" and "Paradox". Hawkwind's flat-out rocking side still gets a good airing on tracks like "You'd Better Believe It" and "Lost Johnny", where good 'ol Lemmy steps up to the mike! Simon House has a beautiful solo entry in "Hall of the Mountain Grill" (the name taken from a popular London hippie restaurant).
Rather conspicuous by its total absence though is Robert Calvert's sci-fi/fantasy poetry interludes between songs (at the time, Bob had to be checked into the nearest nuthouse). This is not necessarily a detriment, but it may have caused some listeners to wonder at first. Michael Moorcock would fill this gap admirably on the next album Warrior On the Edge of Time and eventually, Bob would return to the fold.
Overall, the album has a clear, crisp and fittingly spacious production quality, thankfully not tipping over into an echo-drenched mush, each instrument clear and distinct. If you love space-rock, this IS an essential album for your library!
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