Homecoming sleekness and cleansing ritual from cosmic team who spoke in tongues.
It was totally unpredictable, given that most prog rock bands changed their tack at the end of the ’70s, that this ensemble would make it to the new era practically the same as they were a decade earlier. By November 1982, when the HAWKS landed at the “Hammersmith Odeon” stage, a mere 2.5 miles away from their Ladbroke Grove nest, the group’s groove had nicely lent itself to the new era requirements, that year’s “Choose Your Masques” a fine-tuned proof of it, and slimming the line-up down to a quartet surely helped. Live, though, the return of Nik Turner added an arguably missed element of madness to the method, and here’s a brilliant document of those times – available for the most part before, but now restored, remixed and rightly reordered, although three last pieces from the night are still missing in action.
In this edition, the action ends with an expansion of “Brainstorm” and starts with a fantastic coupling of classic “Warriors On The Edge Of Time”, where Michael Moorcock reprises his recital, and the latest album’s title track which sets a slick tone and chorus explosiveness for the entire show. Its wholesomeness warranted with Harvey Bainbridge’s bass locking into Martin Griffin’s drums, yet it’s the guitar interplay between Dave Brock and Huw Lloyd-Langton that carries the rock ’n’ roll bullet of “Coded Languages” and “Angels Of Death,” another “Sonic Attack” cut. Less heavy if more playful, “Steppenwolf” makes a howling comeback into the repertoire to provide a respite from the overall, electronics-enhanced intensity, as does a hypnotic, flute-caressed “Solitary Mind Games,” whereas the suite of “Utopia / Arrival In Utopia” and “Social Alliance” embraces the old onslaught ethic.
But while the sax-serrated “Magnu” passes its jolly jig to the riff-shaking “Dust Of Time” and then to Turner’s tribal fest, “Ghost Dance,” a fresh perspective into “Psychedelic Warlords” closes in on disco, too. In such an atmosphere, seriousness shares space with fun, which makes “Coded Languages” an unexpected celebration of the spirit. Here’s to the perpetual motion.