Hawkwind – We Are Looking In On You: Album Review

A fresh compilation of 19 classic live Hawkwind tracks from the 2021 tour.

Release Date: 2nd September 2022

Label: Cherry Red Records

Format: 2CD / 2LP

Ahhhh. Mmmmmm. <sound of licking of the lips>. Not the reassuring and comforting smell of Bisto but the similarly reassuring presence of a fresh batch of Hawkwind. Collated from a series of 2021 live dates, the current incarnation of Hawkwind, (the core of Dave Brock, Richard Chadwick, Magnus Martin joined by Doug MacKinnon and Tim ‘Thighpaulsandra’ Lewis), gets commemorated with another live set to add to the ever growing Hawkwind archive and legacy.

And within a minute or so of this compilation of live tracks kicking in, that warm familiarity of a thunderingly hypnotic riff is back and on course to envelop us in what old Rog called a “space cadet glow,” as the intrepid quintet launch headfirst and headlong into ten minutes of intergalactic meandering. Magnu finds the warriors on the edge of time, careering manically through outer space in a reckless abandon of Space Rock.

The set is a healthy blend of the Hawkwind standards getting punctuated by deeper dives into the catalogue including a handful from the current album Somnia. The (almost) title track complete with the heebeegeebees and screaming abdabs offers a more lush contemporary take on the signature sound; all atmospheres and strange and astonishing sounds terminating from the stage, while Cave Of Phantom Dreams (almost) recreates the days of Robert Calvert’s spoken word outings immortalised on Space Ritual.

Uncle Sam’s On Mars from PXR5 keeps the ante up as they fair rattle along on one of the deeper cuts and a nod to he days when they could call on Ginger Baker in times of need with even the Eighties bearing heavily on all and sundry. “Are you in good voice tonight?” ask Dave before informing us they’re going to do Spirit Of The Age that along with the thrill ride that is Right To Decide (current personal live Hawkwind fave). With Spirit… placed adjacent to the brand new It’s Only A Dream, you can appreciate how the flag has been kept a-flying with Dave Brock as chief navigator making sure ehis stewardship keeps the good ship of a straight and steady course.

The combination of Star Explorer and Born To Go belt along furiously, the Heavy Metal Hawkwind stuffed down the throat and we move frm from the swirling and intense to to vaguely bizarre as we get the the Hawkind lounge jazz band setting up a cool groove (complete with assorted sound effects) before a the declaration of “never again!”

Although culled and collated from a tour, the cement that joins the performances together is an undeniable sense of fun and an undeniable amount of electricity – perhaps coming from the general air of ‘winging it’ (as much as you can with fifty years experience under the belt) – that their peers who are hitting similar landmarks of longevity might struggle to channel. Hawkwind might attract the attention of the cliche bearers with a classic case of ‘if it ain;t broken wny fix it?’ and no attempt to see how greener the grass is on the other side of the fence. Can’t go forward and you can’t go back…might as well stay where you are, doing what you do and doing it darn well.

Here’s It’s Not Unusual – yes, that one – from Hawkfest 2021:

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