HAWKWIND – The Machine Stops

Album: The Machine Stops

Artist: Hawkwind

Label: Cherry Red

Release Date: May 06, 2016


Hawkwind 5-6

The Upshot: Our reviewer gives it a “1” out of 5 possible stars, adding, “Maybe it’s time to stick a fork in this thing and call it a day.” Amen.


Hawkwind keep lumbering along occasionally releasing a noteworthy record that remind us of their vital importance to psychedelic music.

This record opens with a call to arms similar in tenor to the Michael Moorcock “Warriors on the Edge of Time” soliloquy from oh so long ago. I wouldn’t take too much comfort in this. Here the voice implores us to “All Hail the Machine” and that one day there will be “a generation absolutely powerless”. Oh no are we revisiting Tron? How many times have we read or heard this narrative in music? I have to say things aren’t starting off well dear friends. After the chanting of “All Hail the Machine” trails off the music begins. Here the well oiled machine starts to chug along, except it’s a soulless feeling that one gets from the music. A major problem is that the vocals are weak and the synths sound like they were lifted from an After the Fire Record, in fact by the time track three comes it sounds as if they will launch into the ATF ‘classic’ “Laser Love” with all its gooey cheesiness.  The track “Hexagone” is probably one of the weakest Hawkwind tracks committed to tape. Were they high when they recorded this track? Of course they were! But huffing paint thinner from a paper bag does not oil one’s better judgement or coax one’s artistic muse from the basket like a viper.

Some may say, “Hey Jonathan you fail to grasp the importance of the entire narrative arc at play here”, which is supposedly based on an Edward Morgan Forster novel. I really don’t care because the track is so subpar it sounds at best like middle-aged Karaoke performed after a meal of jalapeno poppers and some long island iced teas at Chili’s. “Living on Earth” is a run-of-the-mill tune that finds Dave Brock sounding as inspired as if he were reading tax code. “Harmonic Hall” is a pseudo serious semi-Arabic sounding pointless exercise in sequencing and doesn’t aid the soporific nature of the record one iota. The rest of the record is nothing more than pieced together bits of overwrought musicality that were always present since the 90’s but never given center stage until now. Lineup shifts can account for some of this, hey you can’t field a winning team every time on the pitch! Here the band seem outside their minds to think that this middling piece of tripe will somehow find its way into the hearts of Hawkwind fans.

Alas Hawkwind if you or anyone in your band are reading this maybe it’s time to stick a fork in this thing and call it a day before you obliterate any remaining goodwill towards your back catalog.

DOWNLOAD: I find nothing redeeming to download on this album!

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