Church of Hawkwind

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A drab sleeve does little justice to an imaginative (not to mention evocative) album title, but Church of Hawkwind's problems were only just beginning. Stumbling uncertainly into a new day, following their brief encounter with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Hawkwind were very much a ship in search of direction, but it would take the return of founder Nik Turner the following year to wrestle the group back on course. Church of Hawkwind finds them simply drifting, without even the isolated highlights of the previous year's Sonic Attack to look forward to.

Never a band to eschew electronics, Hawkwind here embrace the early-'80s fascination with blips, burps, and squeaking with a little too much enthusiasm. Church of Hawkwind is very much a child of its time, but whereas the group's take on contemporary fashions traditionally sent them soaring away in another mood entirely, here they seem bereft of even the self-belief to look away. Dave Brock's songwriting is distinctly below par, while Huw Lloyd Langton's guitars have seemingly become stuck on metallic stun, lacking both the subtlety and the wit that were hitherto his forte. The result is an album that, though it maintained Hawkwind's decade-old romance with the U.K. chart, was nevertheless insistent that the affair was finally coming to an end. So, without drastic surgery, might Hawkwind themselves.

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