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Hawkwind Light Orchestra - Carnivorous review

Brock and co come into their own with sprawling but topical dystopian rock.

Hawkwind Light Orchestra
(Image: © Hawkwind Light Orchestra)

There’s been a whiff of the apocalypse around Hawkwind right from the start. And here we are now in the midst of a pandemic, and Dave Brock is finding it hard not to say, “I told you so.” Carnivorous is an anagram of coronavirus, and as the long-time vegan Brock notes on The Virus, ‘What we eat is meat’s revenge.’ 

Originally a solo project, input from drummer Richard Chadwick and multi-instrumentalist Magnus Martin has turned it into a semi-group effort, thus Hawkwind Light Orchestra. It’s double album length, but divides roughly into thirds. The opening part, with Brock musing on the nature of love, is particularly strong: the driving Dyna-Mite and Repel Attract are like 90s rave rockers, while airy electronica meets ambient guitar loops on Void Of Wasteland and Attraction. The middle third, tackling the issue of over-population, is less refined, but the Kinks-esque space rock of Windy Day and heavy Quo-isms of Model Farm Blues are fun. Then we’re onto Covid-19, but before the aforementioned epic The Virus, there’s the wonderfully paranoid Lockdown (Keep Calm), a crushingly intense update of Sonic Attack for our interesting times. Do not panic.

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Joe is a regular contributor to Prog. He also writes for Electronic Sound, The Quietus, and Shindig!, specialising in leftfield psych/prog/rock, retro futurism, and the underground sounds of the 1970s. His work has also appeared in The Guardian, MOJO, and Rock & Folk. Joe is the author of the acclaimed Hawkwind biographyDays Of The Underground (2020). He’s on Twitter and Facebook, and his website is https://www.daysoftheunderground.com/