As a teenager I was blown away by "Silver Machine" and "You Shouldn't Do That", both tracks now considered classics by fans and critics alike, but I never bought any of Hawkwind's material. Shame on me. 40 years later I've finally got around to buying their first five albums on CD and my brain is on another planet - without the aid of certain stimulants.
I'm not normally favourably disposed to debut albums, but "Hawkwind" is impressive. The opening track, "Hurry On Sundown", is a very musical and surprisingly powerful song which I keep hearing in my head. It sounds nothing like the deep space excesses we've learned to love, instead acting as a solid departure point for the band's psychological journeying. The six tracks that follow are all nicely quirky, stepping away from normality into the uncharted territory of the psyche and doing a masterly job of setting out Hawkwind's agenda for their subsequent explorations. In deep space terms, this album represents the band's moment of lift off and hardcore fans shouldn't be disappointed. I found a couple of musical phrases in "The Reason Is?" reminiscent of early Pink Floyd, but I think that's coincedental.
The CD edition I bought has four bonus tracks consisting of archive material not available elsewhere. These include the original single version of "Hurry On Sundown", which has a richer arrangement, and a cover version of Pink Floyd's "Cymbaline".
All in all, I found "Hawkwind" to be a very creditable first album the band can be proud of. Highly recommended to fans and as a gentle introduction to the band for beginners.