From the Vault...



© Virgin Records

Year of Release: 1979

track listing
  • Death Trap
  • Jack Of Shadows
  • Uncle Sams On Mars
  • Infinity
  • Life Form
  • Robot
  • High Rise
  • P.X.R.5

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    Hawkwind has reappeared again, as our Album Pick of the Week, with their 1979 release, P.R.X.5. Just as previous releases, Hawkwind's music is still hard to describe. Progressive? Rock? Hard Rock? Psychedelic? Yes, they're all there. We can even add Punk Rock to the list, as (only) the first track from PXR5 sounds like what could be a Punk Rock classic. Of course, at the time of this release in the late 1970s, Punk Rock was just getting started. Also to mention, one year ago this week, Hawkwind's album from 1992 was our Album Pick of the Week, Electric Tepee. And... last September, their debut album was chosen. Three reviews within the past year a record? I think so. Most artists have had two reviews within a year. Hawkwind breaks the record, with three.

    Hawkwind seems to travel with the latest trends in music in their history. Punk Rock was getting more attention. "Death Trap" definitely has the Punk sound. Yet the rest of the album, is basically the typical and usual sound we have heard Hawkwind famous for -- Hard Rock, Rock, Progressive.

    "Jack Of Shadows" gets the Rock and Progressive Rock feel. "Uncle Sams On Mars" has a Moody Blues feel, yet Progressive, and strange as the early Frank Zappa. "Infinity" is strange, just strange. How strange? You'd have to hear it for yourself. "Life Form" is a gradual build into Space Rock, and it has an abrupt stop end, which catches you off-guard. "Robot" journeys into Hard Rock, Motorhead'ish. Punk Rock? Hmm. Maybe. And like "Infinity," the last two tracks are strange -- "High Rise" and the title track.

    This is a your typical Hawkwind album, yet it has some Punk in with the mix. And like previous albums, Strange, and Mysterious. Hawkwind is an experience. Lots of interesting music from any Hawkwind album. P.X.R.5 is no exception.

    From the Wikipedia article on P.X.R.5 -- The Virgin CD issue was mastered from different tapes from the original vinyl version. The most notable difference is that "High Rise" is the live version without studio overdubs, so starts with a clunk rather than the smooth bass intro and has a coarser vocal from Robert Calvert. Also "PXR5" gains an introduction that's missing from the original. The Atomhenge CD issue restores the original album, and includes the different versions of "High Rise" and "PXR5" as bonus tracks 14 and 15 respectively. The original 1979 release on the Charisma label -- the first 5000 contained Pete Frame's Hawkwind Family Tree poster. The original cover had artwork of an incorrectly wired UK electric plug which caused controversy on safety grounds, so subsequent copies were released with a supposedly unremovable sticker covering the offending artwork. Subsequent prints had the artwork blanked out. In 2009, the Atomhenge (Cherry Red) Records UK CD release had the extensive sleeve notes including a reference to the artwork controversy, and the original image is reinstated. The booklet also includes the Hawkwind Family Tree.

    Hawkwind's P.X.R.5 meaning: In researching this, there isn't really anywhere to states what it means. When asked what it means to bandmember David Brock, he just basically laughed. Some may have thought it meant Personnel eXtremely Reduced to 5, meaning they'd cut the number bandmembers down to five. Since there wasn't a defintion, I guess we'll never know. But P.X.R.5 does exist in sound, by Hawkwind. It's another journey in sound, different, strange, unique. It's Hawkwind.

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    Previous Review: #1470
    Next Review: #1472
    David Allan Coe--Tattoo/Family Album