Being PlanetMosh’s resident Hawkwind fan anything Hawk related tends to be passed to me for listening and reviewing which is exactly what happened with this release. The release in question is ‘Return of a Sonic Assassin’ by Lastwind. Lastwind is Paul Hayles’s band, Paul used to be the keyboard player in the legendary Hawkwind for a while in the late 70’s but is probably better known for his playing with splinter group The Sonic Assassins due to their famous live recording from Queen’s Hall Barnstaple where vocalist Robert Calvert did an inspired improvisation when the band didn’t play the song he was expecting them to play which got later released as the track ‘Over the Top’.
Anyway back to the present and the CD opens with the title track ‘Return of a Sonic Assassin” which is a mainly instrumental synth washed track with some female Japanese anime samples in the background along with various voices but nothing you could call a vocal, this track I understand will be used as the intro for when the band plays live and for that purpose it should work very well. Next up is the rockier ‘Winds of Time’ which is very much in the Hawkwind style of music and we run slap bang into my major problem with this release the vocals, it’s not’s Paul’s singing style that bothers me but the mix to my mind the vocals are mixed far too low in the overall mix of the music and therefore they are unclear and you are having to spend too much time listening to the tracks to pick out what he is saying which is a shame as there is some very nice playing on this release both by Paul and the other members of Lastwind.
‘Daytrippers’ has some nice chilled guitar and a boppy bass line while Paul sings about what people used to take while listening to this genre of music ;-) ‘Autoroute’ is a more conventional rock track about fast driving and the perils of getting pulled by the boys in blue! It’s back to the more spacey rhythms with the short keyboard led ‘When’ before returning to heavier rock for ‘Slots’ & ‘Monster Trucks’ the first track about gambling, drinking and drug taking during the hedonism of the 90’s and the second well the title says it all really monster trucks. ‘She’s a Girl’ fairly rocks along with some very nice Hendrix inspired guitar work before the final track of this album returns us to the more restrained speed of the space rock genre for ‘Wreckers’ and in good space rock tradition a song about aliens who visit earth and scrap metal merchants, now if you know your space rock history you might know who this track is dedicated too.
In conclusion I would love to give this album a better review as there is some nice bits of playing from various members of the band but as I’ve already said I just think the vocals are mixed too low for the most part and it detracts from the final product in my mind so I’m going to give it a 5 out of 10.
- Return of a Sonic Assassin (6:18)
- Winds of Time (4:19)
- King Arthur (3:44)
- Daytrippers (4:37)
- Autoroute (4:33)
- When (6:12)
- Slots (4:52)
- Monster Trucks (5:09)
- Who Dat Man (4:39)
- Which Way When (5:29)
- She’s a Girl (3:01)
- Wreckers (5:09)
- Paul Hayles: Vocals and keyboards
- Latch Manghat: Guitars and bass
- Sol Latif : Guitars
- Hugo Morgan: Bass
- Ken Pustelnik: Drums