Hawkwind’s album “Into The Woods” (2017) is a partial follow up to 2016’s “The Machine Stops”, which was based on an E.M. Forster novel. Both albums play delightfully back to back, but on continuous listening, “Into The Woods” has to get the plaudits. How typical of the men from Hawkwind to come out with one of their best albums nearly fifty years since forming in 1969.
The album opens with the title track, leading you into a false sense of security as a piano tinkles out a light riff, and then after fourteen seconds the band come thundering in with a typical Hawkwind heavy space-rock barrage. Richard Chadwick has lost none of his power and new boy (only 24) Haz Wheaton, a young Lemmy lookalike both in appearance and playing style, spurs his rhythm section drumming partner onto greater heights.
Dave Brock, the captain of Hawkwind, is on fine form and his guitar has never sounded more vibrant. The various keyboards, synthesizers etc. are now handled by four members of the band including Brock, Wheaton, Mr. Dibs, and main keyboard man, Magnus Martin. Mr. Dibs is an ominous figure in the Hawkwind line-up, singing some of the vocals, playing with the sound and dabbling in the odd sonic moment. But who knows with Hawkwind, it may be a completely different line up by the time I finish writing this.
Back to the album and the band charge on through two more passages of music (with some gratis sounds of a woodpecker) before they get to the nearly seven minutes of “Have You Seen Them”, which is to this scribe one of the highlights of this set with its driving beat, hypnotic vocals and wonderful descending choruses. There’s plenty of room for Dikmiktisms (if that not a word then it should be) laced through the music, giving it that Hawkwind unmistakable space-rock sound. (Sadly Dik Mik passed away in 2017).
There are no filler tracks on this album, only gems, good enough to please the Hawkwind faithful as well as intrigue a new audience. “Space Ship Blues” launches with some jet propelled guitars and spaced out lyrics. Then “The Wind” brings the Hawkwind spaceship back to earth with a spoken passage, very much in the vein of Michael Moorcock.
“Vegan Lunch” is a wonderfully funny rock and roller, but with a heartfelt message that we should be kinder to all the members of the animal kingdom. For “Magic Scenes” the band get back into the space groove, using plenty of studio trickery to make your journey a pleasant one, even with the rhythm section laying down a heavy back bite.
“Darkland” brings out the softer side of Hawkwind with acoustic guitar and a string arrangement that’s very soothing after the previous 40 minute assault to your senses. “Wood Nymph” is a melodic Hawkwind song that could only be from this band while “Deep Cavern”, as the penultimate song, takes us back to the wonderful days of Huw Lloyd Langton and the Pulsing Cavern.
Then as a fitting climax to “Into the Woods” we get almost ten minutes of “Magic Mushroom”. It’s a classic out and out rocker from outer space as only Hawkwind can do and something to shake your head to. This is a song to round off any Hawkwind album or Live set list in style.
Hawkwind will be one of the headline acts at the New Day Festival in Kent, England in August 2018. Expect Mott the Dog and his pack to be there.
Dave Brock- guitar, keyboards and vocals
Mr Dibs – vocals, camera, keyboards, and vocals
Richard Chadwick – drums and vocals
Haz Wheaton – bass guitar, keyboards and vocals
Magnus Martin – keyboards and vocals
Into The Woods
Cottage In The Woods
Have You Seen Them
Note: Written by Mott The Dog, who can often be found in outer-space at Jameson’s The Irish Pub in Soi AR, North Pattaya.