Hawkwind - 'Into The Woods'

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Hawkwind - 'Into The Woods'

Hawkwind are really getting back on form and the future for them looks very rosy indeed.

Following the success of last year's 'The Machine Stops', Space Rock exponents Hawkwind return with a seemingly Mother Earth friendly 'Into The Woods' release. According to band stalwart Dave Brock, part of this album is a continuation of the story started on '...Stops' and explores living above ground and into the woods.

The trip starts with the title track, morphing quickly from Classical piano into the more familiar Hawkwind sound of driving rhythms and wah-induced distorted guitar – atmospheric sounds of the woods are also to be found. The lyrical content is menacing, plotting the movement into the woods where such "joys" as eating your bones and tearing your flesh with nowhere else for you to go awaits. The theatrical drama of this song really works well. 'Cottage In The Woods' takes a slower, more synth-based direction, and the use of spoken passages has tinges of early Mike Oldfield in its feel. 'Have You Seen Them' is possibly how The Beatles would sound today, if they were all still on this mortal coil; a simple track, but expertly executed.

Far be it for Hawkwind to ever be normal, but 'Space Ship Blues' comes as close as we'll ever get to it musically, as bad-boy-Boogie meets Space Rock, complete with steel slide guitars! 'Magic Scenes' is an epic track that sees the band raising the bar; reduced dependence on space synth pays dividends here and it's certainly a case of less is more. 'Wood Nymph' and album closer 'Magic Mushroom' revert to classic Hawkwind in sound, the latter working its way into a crescendo of musical cacophony which only Hawkwind can pull off.

Hawkwind, despite being anti-establishment, have actually become a fixture of the musical establishment due to their unique sound, longevity and input into music history. Brock has ridden many a storm with ever changing line-ups and internal feuds, but emerging triumphant he's now releasing material that is going to warm the hearts of diehard fans and newcomers alike.

The album is well assembled, and breaking the tracks up with narratives and sound effect-based links helps relay the story well. In some cases, however, there is so much going on it can dilute the song somewhat and lead to the track losing its way. That being said, Hawkwind are really getting back on form and the future for them looks very rosy indeed.

Paul Sabin

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