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Hawkwind – ‘Somnia’

Cherry Red Records
Ozric Tentacles, Genesis, King Crimson
Release Date
September 10, 2021
Cherry Red Records
Space/Psychedelic/Progressive Rock

When the words ‘Space Rock’ are uttered in a conversation, it’s almost a guarantee that someone will say “oh, like Hawkwind?”, and with good reason. Dave Brock and co have been the defining force in the gentle art of turning Psychedelia into Rock for over 50 years now, and show no signs of slowing, (despite surely being close to running out of musicians not mentioned in their ‘past members’ segment)

‘Somnia’ seems to be somewhat of a return to form, after the good, but relatively safe ‘The Road to Utopia’, ‘All Aboard the Skylark’, and Brock and Chadwick’s fantastic, if a little rough ‘Carnivorous’ (released as Hawkwind Light Orchestra).

This whole album seems to flow slightly better as a piece, and includes some distinctly off-beat tracks that feel like a band with a rejuvenated passion for writing, with heavier songs reminiscent of early 1970s angry hawkwind, and slow, winding progressive pieces drawing clear inspiration from peers Yes and Genesis, all mixed in with gorgeous acoustic segments adding a real hopeful, beautiful sense to the whole album, and surprisingly straight rock solos bringing a very listenable edge to what would likely be a head-frying experience without them. It feels a lot like this is what the last few years of oddities and decent works have been building to, and it’s a good job it came along when it did, as Mr Brock must be at least 170 years old by now.

This is a perfect blend of modern progressive rock, blues, and even post-rock, all neatly laced together with undeniable, iconic, classic Hawkwind. Where the darkwave trip-hop ‘Sweet Dreams’ fits in to this is a conundrum, but it’s somehow right for that moment in a way only Dave Brock could muster, leading beautifully into the classic blues-rock overdrive of ‘can’t get you off my mind’ with a brilliant combination of subverting expectations of the buildup, and leading with perhaps the most recognizably Hawkwind song of the album.

More of what we come to expect from Hawkwind, if a little more complete than other recent releases

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