Album Review: Hawkwind – Stories From Time And Space

Album Review: Hawkwind - Stories From Time And Space
Reviewed by Dan Barnes

Whatever epithet you want to put on the band, there’s no denying Hawkwind is the real deal when it comes to National Treasures, British Institution or Trail Blazers. Having been on this journey since 1969 and having had so many members as to need their own Wikipedia page, that they are still a functioning band and have reached the milestone of this, studio album number thirty-six.

Never slouches on the album front, Hawkwind seem to have been in a rich vein of form since 2016’s The Machine Stops, not only with the number of records – eight including this one – but the quality of those releases. Somina and The Future Never Waits were both received positively, and I see no reason why Stories from Time and Space would be met any differently.

You don’t have to be a Bletchley codebreaker to sniff the subtle undercurrent washing this album. From the title to a cursory glance at the back of the product, it’s obvious the passage of time colours great swathes of the record.

Opening with Our Lives Can’t Last Forever, complete with the mantra “Time waits for no one”, leads us into a slow and spacey look at Hawkwind’s more sombre sensibilities. There are times when the band take on a Pink Floyd aspect, Dave Brock coming over like Roger Waters, as the tune takes a retrospective view. But it wouldn’t be Hawkwind if at least some of the classic elements weren’t on show.

Album Review: Hawkwind - Stories From Time And Space

Those cosmic touches and instrumental flourishes expected from a Hawkwind record are evident in the more straightforward – if that could ever be an accusation levelled at the band – The Starship (One Love One Life), The Tracker and the instrumental closer, Stargazers. All feed into the classic aesthetic without sounding trite.

What Are We Going to Do While We’re Here? starts slowly, building a hard-edged riff alongside mournful saxophone; Traveller of Time & Space comes across like a psychedelic slice of americana, yet delivered with a classic Hawkwind cosmological bent; and Till I Found You has a guitar tone straight off Steve Rothery’s rig.

Stories from Time and Space is punctuated throughout with short interludes: the ethereal Eternal Light, the fragile acoustic Underwater City and the choral and cinematic The Night Sky. Each adding moments of reflection across this mammoth journey.

Main man, Dave Brock is in his eighties now and it’s a testament to his commitment to the cause that Hawkwind have not only reached album 36, but the quality has remained throughout. Can Stories from Time and Space compete with the likes of In Search of Space, Doremi Fasol Latido or Warrior on the Edge of Time? Probably not, but they were fifty-years ago and Hawkwind have changed.

Is this likely to draw in new fans? Possibly not, but if you’ve not heard Hawkwind for a while, or only know them from Silver Machine; or just like music that takes you on a journey, then Stories from Time and Space is a good place to reacquaint yourself with their mission.

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