Palace Springs (1992) is the latest released album of the Hawkwind reissue program. It was partly recorded live at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on October 10, 1989. However, it's not a real live album since the live recordings took place in the studio, and some of the material was even entirely recorded in the studio. Treadmill is the only new track even though the words came from a solo track from Dave Brock.
The period from 1988 to 1992 was quite a turbulent era in the existence of the band. Some long-time members left the band: drummer Danny Thompson departed in 1988, guitarist Huw Lloyd Langton left in 1989 and keyboardist Harvey Bainbridge did the same in 1991. Violinist Simon House rejoined the band for a short period of time and also singer Bridget Wishart stayed for just a few years. However, drummer Richard Chadwick joined the band in this period as well and to date he's still a member of Hawkwind.
New members mostly change the dynamics in a band and bring in new ideas. The (hard) rock elements that Hawkwind incorporated in their music gradually disappeared in the eighties. The sound of the nineties would be more electronic and eventually the band would be reduced to a trio consisting of singer-guitarist Dave Brock, Richard Chadwick and bassist Alan Davey. Around the time Palace Springs was recorded they were still searching for a new sound. The best way to do so was going back to their roots doing what they could do best: playing live. So the sound on Palace Springs returns to the seventies psychedelic space rock sound.
For that reason it isn't strange at all that Palace Springs belongs to the favourites amongst their fans. This album is a good starting point for people who are unfamiliar with the band's music. This reissue has been remastered and the bonus disc contains real (!) live recordings.
*** Erik Gibbels (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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