HAWKWIND – “CHURCH OF HAWKWIND” (1982)
Call me crazy, but Hawkwind and The Fall are more similar than you’d think. They’ve both had a gazillion lineup changes, have a complex and varied discography, and at the center of each is a single, irascible, unique rock personality never to be duplicated. For The Fall, of course, that personality is Mark E. Smith, but don’t forget that for almost the past 40 years, Hawkwind has had as its eye of the hurricane one Dave Brock, lead guitarist, sometimes vocalist, and all-around nutjob.
As his band’s lineup changed hourly in the early ’80s, Brock and Co. criss-crossed musical styles as well, going from the pop prog of “Levitation” (1980), to the N.W.O.B.H.M. sound of “Sonic Attack” (1981), to the synth-heavy mostly-ambient freakout that is “Church Of Hawkwind”. While this album frequently gets trashed by online critics, I found it to be pretty solid, in contrast with most of Hawkwind’s post-’70s output. Of particular interest are the leadoff track, “Angel Voices” (a strange collection of vocoder nonsense), and the song that directly follows it, “Nuclear Drive”, one of the most catchy pop songs Brock would write in all the band’s history.
This album makes a great companion piece with the heavier Hawkwind album “Choose Your Masques” (also 1982).