Review: "The Machine Stops" - Hawkwind

by Andy Snipper,

A genuine new album from Hawkwind is a rare and real delight. This is their first since 2012’s Onward - and this album is one of their best for years.

The album is based around EM Forster’s dystopian vision of a world where human communication and indeed it’s very existence is governed by the ubiquitous ‘Machine’, all people living in isolated cells and communicating through screens. This was written in 1900 but one look at the streets today where people walk around perpetually connected to their phones and tablets, often communicating by such means while in the same ROOM as the person with whom they are communicating, will show that Forster was close to the mark. The Machine Stops describes the panic and reawakening after the machine stops functioning – think about how you felt the last time you entered a wi-fi free zone.

So, we have a new Hawkwind album and even more a new Hawkwind concept album and a new line up – stable for a few years now – with Dave Brock in charge and guitars, Richard Chadwick on drums, Mr Dibs on vocals and cello, Niall Hone on keys and programming, Dead Fred on keys and Haz Wheaton on bass.

Hawkwind are always at their best when they have two keyboards and between Hone & Dead Fred they have two good ones. It allows the music to go in other directions than the aimless riffing they have occasionally drifted into and here they have created some wonderful soundscapes, sometimes dense and claustrophobic but at others so vast as to give a sense of vertigo.

The story is consistent and the band are playing brilliantly together; all the Hawkwind trademarks are there but there is a sense of purpose about this album that really hits the mark.

I worried that the band would miss Nik Turner’s eccentric sax and clarinet but none of it – if he were still in the band it would add something but the music works perfectly well without it.

It really is a brilliant album, one of their best and definitely their best for years.

1 comment

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I am so exited to see the machine stops.I liked very much,It is really true.The idea behind this album is fantastic.All the day to day activities are shifted to internet,so a world without internet and mobile phone cant think.But noways all of them are addicted to this machine world.Very meaning full album.All the best for fantastic idea .

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