On June 17, Hawkwind released Quark, Strangeness and Charm, an album full of all three qualities. Quark, not to be mistaken for the sound a duck makes, is a scientific term for a subatomic particle. It's the kind of thing science fiction buffs long time Hawkwind associate Michael Moorcock and the band's new vocalist Robert Calvert could spend hours discussing. Moorcock's friend, Michael Butterworth, has just written a SF novel, The Time of the Hawklords, about a fantasy version of the band whose instruments has the power to save the world.
Ignored by Rolling Stone and regarded only as the birthplace of Motorhead by Spin, Hawkwind received little fanfare in America and even less after bassist Lemmy Kilmister . I was one of those who almost didn't bother listening to Quark. So I was surprised by how much I liked this album. It's a new sound for Hawkwind, more poppy especially on the title cut which sounds like a Roxy Music outtake.
For some fans, this is the favorite album. I've actually had a hard time figuring out what song to spotlight. "Hassan-i Sabbah" has a cool Middle Eastern vibe. "Damnation Alley" is a post apocalyptic rocker. But I've settled on "Spirit of the Age" which begins with ear splitting electronic noises before settling into a krautock vibe and lyrics that tell the tale of a space traveler who has to leave his girlfriend on earth:
And waiting still as fresh in your flesh for my return to Earth
But your father refused to sign the forms to freeze you
Let's see you'd be about 60 now,
And long dead by the time I return to Earth
My time held dreams were full of you,
As you were when I left;
Your android replica is playing up again
Oh, it's no joke
When she comes she moans another's name