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25 Years On

Hawklords

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Album Review

When Hawkwind, fresh from the latest round of breakups and defections, reignited themselves as the Hawklords, few among even the grassroots faithful knew precisely what to expect. The main band's last album, Quark Strangeness and Charm, had drifted far from the miasmic space drone of the "classic" years, and a growing interest in electronics and quirk left the band teetering on the edge of new wave pop — again, a long way from any sphere the group might normally have orbited. 25 Years On continued that reinvention and, in so doing, emerged as one of the last truly great Hawkwind-related albums before the precipitous dip into cliché and pretension that would scar so much of their 1980s output — the following year's P.X.R.5 would, of course, complete this final cycle of excellence. Opening with the death-defying breeziness of "Psi Power," passing on through the spacious pomp of "Free Fall" and the self-abusing autobiography of "25 Years" ("Have they really been going that long?" pleaded one U.K. review), the album also dipped into comedy ("Flying Doctor"), sci-fi ("[Only] The Dead Dreams of the Cold War Kid"), and bleeping futurism (the synth-joke "Automotion") — the same formula, of course, that marked out its predecessors, but a slap in the face for anyone who still tried to accuse the bandmembers of taking their mission too seriously. Indeed, looking back, it seems obvious that it was the Hawks' reputation (however they tried to disguise their name) rather than their music that prevented both album and single from scoring major hits — they were that in step with the then-current fascinations of the U.K. music scene. [Atomhenge's 2009 edition included an additional CD of bonus material.]

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s

Essentially a Hawkwind spin-off band, the Hawklords' run barely lasted a year, but proved significant in convincing founder-guitarist Dave Brock to give his parent band one more shot. The initial impetus grew from Hawkwind's six-week support stint in the U.S. between February and April 1978. Brock reportedly found the exercise so dispiriting that he sold his guitar just minutes after the final gig in California. Hawkwind manager Doug Smith convinced Brock to reconsider. To avoid the contractual...
Full bio
25 Years On, Hawklords
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