4x - "Ballet Dancer" (American Phonograph International 1985, APK 9, LP)

From Aural Innovations #3 (July 1998)

Yet another LP which crossed my path accidently! I have seen it referred to on various Hawkwind collector's list, but am not aware it was heard by many interested in the genre when it first appeared.

Imagine an amalgam of bands like Khan, Huw Lloyd Langton, late 70's Genesis, and Roxy Music, melded into a hard rocking brew! The tunes kick hard with a certain musical sophistication due to the very esteemed players on the date. Guitarist/keyboardist Paul Sinden was unknown to me, but he is joined here by the notorious Dave Anderson (ex of Hawkwind) Dave Earnshaw on Saxes/Flute, and former "EGG" & "GROUNDHOGS" Drummer Clive Brooks.

"Hide in the Rain" is first up, a strong riff leading into some devastating guitar solos on the choruses and in the bridge as well! "Breaker" flows in into some fine up-tempo Rhythm section stuff, all tight and deep in the groove. The horn states the line with guitar, which delivers solid gold solos at increasing energy states throughout the tune!

"Tin Soldier" is taken at a slower tempo, and features some ace Electric Piano and dashes of Flute, Acoustic Guitar, and crunchy Rhythm Guitar double-tracked to max effect! "Ballet Dancer" closes side one, the theme stated by vocal samples, and the band gives off a strong "Roxy Music" vibe (one expects Mr. Ferry to slide a vocal in here!), Earnshaw's Saxophone work being quite emotive la Andrew MacKay...I'd have loved to hear more of this musician on this recording!

Side 2 begins with "Into the Fire", which begins with some lovely phase shifted Guitar, and some serious drum work from Clive Brooks. Not fancy, just straight-forward Time keeping! An Acoustic Guitar bridge takes the listener on an interlude which leads to "Possessed". This tune is driven by Flute leading the riff, then more Acoustic Guitar, and back into the odd-meter lick, fine pickin' from Sinden, and some gorgeous Flute by Earnshaw. (This boy should join any number of SpaceRock units, he'd really make lots of well-known names sound more interesting!) "October" is almost a rip of late 70's Genesis, not exciting but played with some skill. A Reprise of "Ballet Dancer" closes this LP in the same vein, Sinden Guitaring somewhere between Langton and Steve Hackett, with Bass provided by those great lost "Rutherford Moog Basspedals", and more Earnshaw Flute.

In all I think a very successful LP, the Rockers winning out over the slower tunes, but still relevant and quite enjoyable. I don't know if it is available on CD. Check a well stocked store that deals in used/import music, or try one of the numerous distributors of Hawkwind-related material.

Reviewed by Doug Walker

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