Saturday, 31 January 2009

Space Bandits - The Mighty Chuggernaut

‘Collectors Item Limited Edition’ says the front cover. ‘This is a masterpiece of science fiction fact’ notes the back. Wow! There’s confidence for you! Taking their name from, I assume, the Hawkwind album Space Bandits, this album seems to have been put together by two former members of a band called Chuggernaut who note on their Myspace that they’ve ‘revapourised and started to re-energise the ship to glorious effect, stronger better deeper fuel tanks etc…’

The end result is something of a curate’s egg (‘Good in places’). The opening tracks, ‘Chuggernaut’ and ‘The Sacred Flame’ seemed to me to be fairly standard AOR rock music with a sci-fi spin, that didn’t really excite me. I got more interested when the gentle rhythms of ‘Earth’ drifted lugubriously out of the speakers, sat up, took note and started to engage with what was going on.

‘Calling All The Tribes’ is real Spacerock, a grinding improvisational guitar sound with some eerie lead escaping from it and an overall sound coming across, as you’d expect from the track title, with well realised tribal effect – very nicely done. Had me in mind of a particular Hawkwind era and yet elusively I couldn’t tell you which one, so maybe that’s saying that it had an affinity to, without sounding directly like, Hawkwind. ‘We Want You’ is more upbeat, catchy even, whilst ‘Tartarus’ is slower and delivered with a sense of foreboding. ‘The Gods…(Chaos rules)’ takes them back into AOR territory but more successfully. ‘This is the Universe’ is spoken word over a slow drumbeat and spacey electronic warbling leading into the epic final track, ‘The Battle’.

Overall then, some nice touches here; I really liked ‘Earth’ and thought that led into something good going on the middle section of this CD, especially with the tribal overtones. I didn’t catch onto the surrounding material, which just seemed a little flat to me, but there’s certainly enough of interest to keep an eye and an ear out for further recordings.

Space Bandits Myspace Page

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