Once you get past the fact that The Spacelords are second cousins twice removed from the immediate Hawkwind friends and family circle you can start looking at them in their own right. They probably get very few reviews without mention of Dave Brock and his intrepid interstellar explorers but after 50 years of history behind them anyone playing psychedelic space rock would be hard pushed not to. Essentially a trio with a few ‘guestlords’ filling in the spaces these Germans vary from some others within the genre by going down a completely instrumental route. I guess that is fair enough and this is one form of music that can work particularly well when represented in such a fashion. It encompasses travel to a different hemisphere and presented either futuristically or in retro style due to its longevity there are enough weird sounds among the formula to paint a story in the listeners head. If they are really struggling to unleash these well a nice cup of tea or some such other stimulant is bound to do the job nicely.
What we get here are 3 tracks, the first couple moderately lengthened for unveiling other planetary dimensions and the last, well we will get to that. The title track takes off to slowly orbit around what may well be planet shroom looking at the album artwork. It’s not in a hurry as it touches down and our cosmonauts pick these mystic blooms, ingest and wait for their effect to take hold. Thick bass groove, meandering guitars and slow percussion pave the trip with some underlying Hammond and Moog to help along the mind expansion. Although not differing from anything you would expect from a band with this name or indeed countless others it grooves and jams away at a natural and progressive pace not quite reaching the outer limits but treading a comfortable terrain nevertheless. Picking up the pace around the half-way mark with the presence of the keyboards ever the more pronounced it becomes all the more space laden due to some underlying synthesized effects and gives the feeling that things have gradually started to kick in before it eventually draws to natural conclusion. The oddly entitled ‘Frau Kuhnkes Spacetrip’ is one of those drive by interplanetary chuggers that suggests a cruising spacecraft jettisoning a crew member to take a walk where it’s “t’s cold outside and there’s no kind of atmosphere”, revelling in being truly alone in the great void of space. The guitar plucking rhythm is one that will be familiar to devotees of a band like Ozric Tentacles and although you expect it to whoosh into stellar overdrive it never quite does. Still nodding along to it and stroking beards is encouraged.
Then we get the monstrous 24-minute ‘Cosmic Trip’ (man) and depending what you stirred your aforementioned tea with you are in for the long haul with a track that could fly past in minutes or seem to drag on for aeons. It is stated that there are no keys or synths used on this track and it is mellow guitar work acoustically taking us in and hypnotically weave away. Left in a bit of a trance you may find this goes nowhere fast and indeed fast does not seem The Spacelords modus operandi on these tracks. Listen out in the mid-section though and you will notice subtle accompaniment of a Turkish Zuma as well as a didgeridoo as perhaps the trip takes us over different regions of our planet. ‘World space music’ well that’s a new one on me! Divided into 3 segments the concluding part has some good guitar work flowing through its cosmos and draws to an upbeat conclusion suggesting it has been a successful trip and splash-down to earth has been successfully achieved.
Although Spaceflowers doesn’t do anything particularly unexpected it’s a good example of the genre and a pretty relaxing listen that will leave you comfortably floating through space from the comfort of your own living room.
(7/10 Pete Woods)