Mike Batt and Clap­ton-as­sisted makeover of se­lected hits is cu­ri­ously ap­peal­ing.

Prog - - The Musical Box -

There are few cer­tain­ties in this world, but you’d imag­ine one of them is that Mari­achi trum­pets and Hawk­wind songs don’t mix. Mike Batt would beg to dif­fer. On this new col­lab with Dave Brock, Batt – the pro­ducer, song­writer and ar­ranger of The Wombles, Katie Melua and Steel­eye Span fame – has ap­plied a new dress­ing to a clutch of vin­tage Hawk­wind tunes. And in its own slightly WTF way, it works. Lemmy’s 1972 track The Watcher has long since been beefed up from a stoned, brood­ing med­i­ta­tion to a bass-driven jug­ger­naut on stage, and it’s this ver­sion that forms the plat­form for Batt’s mus­cu­lar treat­ment. Some typ­i­cally lithe, blues-soaked gui­tar licks from guest star Eric Clap­ton cer­tainly help, while har­mon­ica stabs and honky-tonk piano add to the sense of hurtling into ris­ing chaos. The pro­top­unk boo­gie of 1977’s Quark, Strangeness And Charm is re­drawn with brass in the cho­rus, and along­side a com­fort­ingly Hawk­wind-es­que sonic swirl in the back­ground, they add ex­tra punch to an odd­ball an­them. It doesn’t al­ways work – PSI Power with ritzy horns? – but touches like the tim­pani and Floy­dian sax on The Age Of The Mi­cro Man lend it an ex­tra sense of weary un­ease. JS

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